The stark truth that few ever grasp is that to have more we must do and consume less
As parents we are conscious of encouraging an awareness (with our impressionable children) of how our actions impact our immediate and global environment. Our Family has regular conversations around environmentally friendly values, behaviours and chat about how small changes everyday do all add up to make a big difference. We work really hard at creating positive habits around Striving to Balance a Happy, Healthy and Sustainable Lifestyle.
This year we set the challenge of packing one suitcase and one piece of carry-on luggage, per family member, to travel and live on the other side of the Country for a few months. There was bound to be items which were accidentally left behind and ones which perhaps should have, but didn’t, make the ‘priority list’ but, once we arrive and get settled, we can just pop-to-the-shop – right?
Of course we can, except if 2015 is your Year of Less is More and you have publicly declared to create new habits and learn to live with ‘Less Stuff‘. There is also the return trip to consider and the intention is for everything to fit back into that one bag.
The New Year started with a list of items to be sourced in preparation for our Little Man to begin at a new school. The challenge was, could we get creative and put his name on all of these items using what we had available? Didn’t think of ‘labelling’ during packing…
Flash back to ‘Old School Thinking‘, before the convenience of labelling equipment and personalised, colourful, stickers and we had a solution. Our Little Man was extremely curious to see how a sharp knife was the chosen ‘naming tool’ for his pencils. It only took around 10 Minutes for all of them to be personalised and ready to pack into his pencil case.
He was especially chuffed, on the first day of school, to see one other person in his class with their pencils named in the same way. Amazing how much confidence can be instantly gained in the new school environment sharing something a little unorthodox with even just one other child. For me that’s a little resilience as well.
In today’s modern world there is a time for new and a time to rethink and reuse. Our choice to encourage more of the later falls under the category of ‘Progress Not Perfection’, in this instance we had to buy a material marker for the clothing. The items which weren’t wooden were labeled with home made name tags by using paper from his notebook, individually cut to size and covered with sticky tape.
This challenge is just one example where, as well as providing lessons in consumerism, also present great opportunities to practise that all important life skill of problem solving.
Did we succeed…? Absolutely and already in so many dimensions than we initially anticipated. The long term advantage is realising that, although we have limited ’stuff’ at our disposal in our temporary home, no one has asked for, or missed anything which has been left behind. We are out and about sharing so many more experiences and children’s imagination is getting a work out using the items they did choose to bring. Their games have also taken on a much more creative edge. This gives us, as Parents, a sense that we are on the right track…or at least we hope we are!
Love to hear how you are going with creating new habits around your focus this year. Have you risen to the challenge of any unexpected situations yet?