Sunday, June 01, 2008

but seriously...

So this weekend we were preparing the gravel base for the arrival of our new shed to house our riding mower, snow equipment, and grill (during the 9 month snowy season!) When what should I notice on my driveway (yes the delivery drivers are too lazy to take my packages to my front door they leave them at my driveway??) but, my 2 new amazon books Hungry Planet (to hear more about this book here is an NPR clip) and Material World (photos courtesy of Peter Menzel). Every summer we do some fun reading and learning to help us appreciate what we have and respect others in our world.
It was good for us to sit down as a family today and read and see how other people live. I am desperate to help my children escape our culture of consumerism and entitlement. And until I can take them to these places to experience how others live, (which I definitely plan to do) we have to use books as our guides. Menzel's books are beautiful and capture so richly the lives of others. It was good for my boys to understand that in some places a family of 5 lives in a house about the size of our soon to arrive shed. Or that someones desire is to get a 2nd pair of clothes. Or that the per capita income in some countries is about what we spend on food in a week! Or the quanity and variety of food they have in a week is quite significant. I want them to respect these people, to feel a connection to them, to grow up with a desire to do more. I struggle to live with the have and have not of it all. Whenever I travel abroad doing medical missions, I return home with a sort of healthy mental disequilibrium about the luxury, ease, and frivolity of my life. I think we all need more reminders about the things that matter, the blessings we have, and our responsibility too do more. Some days I don't know how to live with all that I have.
Everyday we are bombarded with glossy magazine images trying to sell us one more thing, Where is the daily dialogue that reminders we can and should do more with what we have? We can all find away to keep better perspective: give up that trip to the movies, new pair of shoes, or an impulse buy. We need to inspire better living in our families, and our communities. As you know, I am a fan of kiva and microcredit. I love LDS Philanthropies. We can alll find a way to make a difference. Even if it is something small like letting your kids or yourself play freerice.com (I can boast getting to a mere level 49, my 7 yr old level 12- and my 3 yr old sits by and commanding- "get some rice in that bowl!" ) or using goodsearch. I believe every good thing no matter how small can make a difference. So for today I'll be the reminder.
(activist baby bib a smart mama original made for my cute model smart son#3! )
1. ample food 2. more than I need 3. glimpses into the lives of others

11 comments:

Trueman twins said...

Just last night I had the kids sit down and watch an Oprah show from last week. It is a new program that she is doing called O Ambassadors. They showed a group of teenagers who went to Africa to build a school. This is the first time my have seen this level of poverty. They were really saddened by it. I told them that I am not trying to make them feel bad, but to show them all that they have and to really APPRECIATE it! If they weren't sad something would be wrong. I also wanted to show them how happy these children were with so little. I do not want my children growing up feeling they are entitled to material things! Maybe we could borrow your book or do a summer class about it?

smart mama said...

yes- i will totally loan you some great books!!

smart mama said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
smart mama said...

okay no one likes my depressing serious post on world poverty!-gosh not even my mom commented- LOL -It's really bad when you have to post a bunch of comments on your own blog- I will try not to make you all too depressed and will post something easier to chew tomorrow.

sherry said...

What do you mean...here I am..I had just told everyone I needed to do a post...and I found your comment. Better late than never! I was waiting to post until I had earned some rice...Well, Aunt Nancy, Uncle Keith,Jenny and I just earned 3300 grains of rice! And laughed a lot doing it. But, hated to stop knowing we were feeding someone. Aunt Nancy said, "Don't tell Les our vocabulary level!" But alas, it is after midnight. Les, I have never heard of this site. Actualy, I am so happy you select hard to digest topics. It helps to raise all of our sensitivities.I can't wait to read the books with the boys. Aunt Nance is in awe of your abilities!

LL said...

i didn't comment because the only thing I have to say is WHY CAN'T I BE MORE LIKE LG!
SERIOUSLY, will you raise my children (me too) you're SUCH a good lady. I have so much to learn from your heart of gold.
Keep these posts coming, I just have nothing intelligent to reply. :)

LL said...

BUT. if you're giving away free paintings...you KNOW i have something to say about that ;)
i'm lame.

smart mama said...

Mom- You really didn't have to comment-- glad you had fun ricing-
LL --you're too funny free art is way better than a materialism condemning tirade- no faulting there!! rememeber those "mom how much more torture must I endure looks" mckay was giving you sunday- thats you'd get 10x that if your poor boys were subjected to me- youre so good w your boys and girl- LOL Really, I am trying to make sense of my life having a shed for my lawn mower bigger than many peoples house and its making me lose sleep at night.

Tamlynn said...

Just one more aspect in which I want to stalk- I mean emulate- you.

Laurene Ross said...

Your mom told me about this rice site and all I have to say is... Wow! I am on vacation at my parents in UT and we played for an hour. My kids were able to see how great their grandmother is at vocab. You are a inspiration. We will have to talk when you come in July.

smart mama said...

I'd love to Laurene- glad they enjoyed it!