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The holidays are offically over. I always enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas, but there is also something wonderous and refreshing about the end of one thing and the beginning of another,namely, the New Year. January 1st is always like a huge breath of fresh air for me. It’s ironic since I know in a cerebral sense that January 1st is no different than any other day. Still, the idea of something new and sparkly is undeniably alluring and altogether impossible to ignore.
In the spirit of new beginnings I have found myself examining why I do certain things. Why, for example, do I get new plastic bags every time I grocery shop? Mostly, I have to admit, because I am absent-minded when it comes to remembering to bring my old ones. Another question: Why do I give away bags of clothing that is seemingly still in great condition? I don’t know many people who are still wearing the fashions of 10 years ago, let alone 20 and 30 years in the past. Obviously, some of our clothing wears out, but I would have to admit that there is no way I would be caught dead in those clothes (yes, I survived the 80′s…barely). I have to therefore confess that one of the sole reasons I buy new clothes is to look cool.
Wow. That was hard to type. I didn’t think it would feel as bad as it did. (I am really tempted to delete it, but I won’t). Even if each one of us has a slightly different definition of what ‘cool’ is, it drives our consumerism. In the eighties it was a huge boombox on your shoulder with detachable speakers. Now, it’s an 1GB iPod shuffle MP3 player. Just a note: I have never actually owned either one, but I have my share of gadgetry, all of which carry the same dangling-carrot technology, i.e. ‘you will be so cool when you have one!’.
I have been following Josh Harris’ Affluenza series on his blog and I appreciate the spotlight being shown on the mindless and seemingly harmless consumerism that ironically ends up consuming us. I urge you to read his six-part series on the subject and contemplate the influences that shape your buying. Just go to the bottom of his homepage and search for ‘Affluenza’. It really is great…well…stuff.
In the meantime, check out the very interesting tutorial of sorts called, ‘The Story of Stuff’. It sheds a bit of a light on the peripheral impact of our buying system.
So, to do a bit of a wrap, we all love the new and sparkly. The question is, what drives that desire and what controls it? Is it in control at all? I would love you hear your thoughts on the subject.
When Christmas rolls around, here in the Schrock household we take it all very seriously. The day after Thanksgiving, or as close as we can get to it, we put up the tree and load it with lights. After almost seven years of marriage we have a nice, little collection of unbreakable, homemade-looking ornaments with lots of glitter, ribbon and color.
One of the things we love doing is baking cookies. Lots of them. Piles of them. This year is extra-fun because our two eldest are 7 and 5 and their abilities to build and create are growing by the day. Our youngest, Bear, is only interested in the eating of them at this point. Which he did today.
We have been baking and baking and decorating and decorating and planned on sending some of those beauties to friends of ours. I’m so happy we made as many as we did because Bear decided to weed a few of them out today. I was working in another part of the house when I realized it was much too quiet. Upon investigating the quiet I found this:
He obviously went through a great deal of effort to get to those cookies. First, he had to climb up on the table, then he had to poke his entire fist through the plastic wrap, and lastly, clearly, he ate a good portion of holiday delight. Which was liberally spread all over his face and hands. The first thing he said after he’d been found out was, “yummy!”.
Yes, I imagine it was. *grin*
I’ve already mentioned Anna’s feelings of being ignored, so I thought I might share a few of the boys’ colloquialisms - just for posterity. I certainly don’t want to forget them.
Barrett doesn’t have a large vocabulary yet, but his special name for his blanket (the one Grandmother made him) is “nanket.”
Joshua, on the other hand, has quite a large vocabulary, and growing since he is reading now. (Amazing how reading expands his mind!) Anyway, the other day, Heather and the kids were making some Christmas decorations. They were encouraging one another and excitedly waiting until Daddy could see their creations. When I did get to see the creations, I applauded their imagination and colorful creativity. A few minutes later, as Heather was finishing hers, Joshua said, “Mom, you have a great imagination. You’re such a good creatist!”
The second story is from last night. Heather and Anna were at a ladies party, so the boys and I were having fun here. During dinner, he informed me that he was convinced that he wanted to do so much when he grows up. He wants to be on TV, he wants to play an actor, and he wants to design houses, among several other things. But the problem is that he doesn’t know which one to do.
Later in the evening, imaginations were flowing again, and Joshua was reading me a book he wrote. (He had drawn some pictures on several pages, and stapled them together.) I told him I liked his book, and wondered if he could draw some more pictures that further describe his story. His eyes lit up, and he said, “Dad! I know – I can be a writist!”
Whatever he chooses as a career, I’m positive that he’s going to do it with gusto! Who knows, he might just figure out a way to do ALL of them.
Not often do we see this kind of committment anymore, but what a conviction with which he speaks.
I commit publicly right now, that I will care for my wife with this kind of love, ’till death do us part.
Yesterday, our sweet children were supposed to be taking a nap, but as children sometimes don’t–they weren’t. Barrett was fast asleep, but Joshua and Anna were talking and playing.
I asked each of them why they weren’t laying down and being quiet as we had told them to do. Joshua’s response was typical: “I don’t know.” Anna’s response was priceless: “I wanted to lay down, but it just ignored me.” Hmm, maybe that’s why my desk doesn’t get cleaned?