A pansy for your thoughts ...
In the May Morning Garden ~

Mitten Strings for God: Chapter Nine

Wants and Needs


"The fact is that try as I might to stay centered and focused on what's really important, the world sometimes does win. At times I feel on the losing end of a tug-of-war: one one side, a desire to live simply, without fuss; on the other, the lure of social events, beautiful things to buy, new places to go."

This chapter is so meaningful - I have so much of it underlined! - and yet, I found it challenging to get this post done. (Obviously - I'm several days late!) I'm not sure why that is - other than the usual lack of time issue - but I think, I must admit, that even as a grown-up I find it hard sometimes to distinguish between wants and needs. It's an important concept to teach our children - and learn ourselves.

I think helping our children find - and really feel - contentment now, is vital to their happiness later in life. We grown-ups know, in our hearts, that contentment doesn't come from things, but rather, from having our needs met consistently. Because once those needs are met, we feel comfort, and comfort provides plenty of space for joy. (Did I just talk in a circle? Possibly, but please bear with me.)

There are so many places this post could go, but in the interest of time (mine and yours) I'll just offer up a few notes I jotted down for myself re this particular endeavor (and as always, these are just things I am trying - I don't presume to know what would work for your family):

1. Expose children to less media. It's only human nature - we know ourselves how easy it is to be manipulated by the media. It can be tough to explain why it is the media does what it does, and how it's not really presenting a realistic view - but even if we could get that message across, it doesn't necessarily lesson the temptation. The best approach - less exposure.

2. Shop as little as possible. The less time spent "shopping" the better. I try to contain my errands to one morning a week, and by necessity, for me that needs to be Saturday mornings. And since there are all kinds of better things to be doing on Saturdays than shopping - we keep it brief. I want the boys to get the impression this is not recreational but rather, a necessary task.

3. Make giving thanks a bigger part of our life. Brainstorm different ways to consider the ways we are blessed (there are so many), and then stick with what feels right. A friend of mine asks her boys to name what the best part of the day was was for them. I bet over time, it will be clear that rarely is it a material thing - but more likely a person or experience.

4. Donate and volunteer as a family. Help the boys understand not everyone is as fortunate as we are. Work to see that other's needs are met. Learn to appreciate how good it feels to give of ourselves.

I have a few other ideas, but if I want to get this post up, I'd better stop here. :) I'd love to hear your thought on this chapter. How do you help your children tell the difference between wants and needs? How do you keep your own focus?

Thanks for stopping by today, and I hope you all have a pleasant evening. (And for those awaiting my Cranford post - it will come sometime tomorrow. I fell asleep last night only 10 minutes in!)