To Consume or Not Consume



Unconsciously I’ve been struggling with the need-want trap lately.  I’ve been making copious “I need…” lists in my head.  They go something like this:

I need new jogging pants.

I need new tank tops.

I need a gel manicure.

I need a new life jacket for C.

I need new towels.

I need white acrylic paint.

I need a haircut.

I need new earrings.

I need a new swim suit.

I need a massage.

I need a new sketch book.

I need new sandals for Q.

I need a new dress.

I need new nail polish.

I need another fan.

That’s not the end.  But I’m not going to take you through the 10 ridiculous pages I could lead you through.  So after many days of this (kind of whining) mental listing, I caught myself.  What I need is to watch my language.  These aren’t nearly all needs.  There are some valid needs, granted, but most of them are wants.

It was interesting catching myself in this listing.  I struggle with all the “stuff” my kids have because I worry what message it sends them.  Yet what was I doing?  I was wanting stuff – lists and lists of stuff.  Reality is, I don’t even really have room for some of the stuff I have and I don’t use or wear all the stuff I have.  I don’t like clutter.  Yet it is just so easy to get caught up in the culture of wanting more.

Now, I’m not denying I’m a consumer but there’s consumerism and there’s CONSUMERISM.  I want my kids to be responsible consumers.  This responsible consumerism starts with me and modeling responsible buying behaviours.

So a little reality check later, I’ve made a new needs list:

I need to swim and jog more so I have the energy to continue to keep up with my kids.  The jogging pants I have are fine.  I’ll probably need a new swimsuit in the next month or two.

I need a new life jacket for C so he can feel more confident at the pool and I can feel more comfortable taking them both to the pool.

I need a few new artist supplies to replenish what I use so I can continue to feed my soul.

I need new sandals for Q so she can work on what seems to be her current heart’s desire: playing in the waterpark for as long as possible.

It is possible I need another fan so I can sleep well, wake refreshed, and be the best mom I can be.  I’ll keep this one on the back burner.

I need to focus my mental energy in constructive ways (not copious listing) so I can continue to give life my all and not consumerism my all:)


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3 Responses to To Consume or Not Consume

  1. Arwyn says:

    I hear you sister! I struggle with this as well. And, on a parallel note, I worry” about appreciation. How can I still this in my children? Simply telling them doesn’t seem effective, and, as you mentioned with needs/wants, I need to work on it myself. Appreciate that which I have, rather than that which I do not……

    • Good question, Arwyn. Appreciation is so important and tricky to teach and learn. The only ideas I have come up with are trying to instill values of giving. You know, by volunteering as a family when they are older, all of us donating money to charities that are important to us, and giving away old toys and clothes. I am hoping to teach them that in giving we are making room for receiving – and not just material things hopefully! I think that is one way to appreciation… However, if I come up with any other ideas, maybe I’ll do a future post and share them:)

  2. Cath Hay says:

    Nice one! I used to get the “I wants” and, as you say, it just ends up cluttering up your life! And I know that cheap clothes come at a high price, maybe not for the consumer, but SOMEBODY is paying that price. Better to want what you already have than “need” what you don’t have.
    Thanks for the reminder.

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