Sunday, October 14, 2007

Producing, not Consuming

So, I sat down to post, but I got completely distracted by blogger play. It's addictive, check it out.

Anyway, I mentioned a while back that I wanted to address the topic of consumerism and being a producer of things as an alternative.

I do think that consumerism is a problem for our country. It's very difficult to raise children who can interact well with their peers and aren't seen as weirdos unless you allow them to be normal. Here's what I think normal kids are allowed to do, watch all sorts of television and films that are inappropriate for them, wear clothes that are overpriced, wear makeup and dye their hair as young as twelve years old, have cell phones and tons of other very expensive electronics and toys. I know I'm sounding a bit "what's the matter with kids these days" but I'm pretty much judging from my experiences when I was a kid and what I see at the mall, etc. I just think that parents would be very challenged to counteract the all me, all pleasure messages that are being sent to us all every single day. How can we teach generosity, empathy, and caring while at the same time insisting that you have to provide everything your child even shows a passing interest in.

But I don't have children, and though I sympathize with parents who try to teach their children what's really important, I'm more concerned with people of my generation. How can we counteract the urge to spend more and have more? It's very difficult to realize that stuff weighs you down more than it makes you happy. I'm not calling for a monoastic lifestyle, but a simpler one than is being led right now. A little less shopping and fewer things to be responsible for, and a little more time spent actually enjoying the things that I've already got.

It's very difficult for me to realize sometimes that I'm almost as much of a consumer as my peers are. I don't spend much money on clothes or makeup or shoes, but I love to buy yarn and knitting supplies, books and magazines, or go out to eat. But I do feel it's important to start thinking about what food actually is and where it comes from. To start appreciating the relative riches that I have. To really look around at the sheer quantity of stuff I already own before I decide that spending the afternoon shopping is a good idea.

Obviously, I'm a fan of popular culture, and I enjoy tv and magazines and movies, but it's such a balancing act to enjoy those things, but to try to keep my own ideas of the essentials in life, without buying into what is portrayed as essential on screen. I'm not so much concerned with cuture other than that it reflects what individuals are seeking. I'm much more interested in individual personal choice than I am in changing advertising or industry. Really those things are fine, because they wouldn't exist if they didn't work, so if people choose they're own paths as to what they need to live happily, all those companies and advertisers will just follow.

Of course, this topic ties in with so much, like fiscal responsiblity, avoiding credit card debt, retirement planning, frugality and even more so with the way more important topics of healthy spirituality, charity, living is a Christ-like way, having the correct priorities in life and really living in love for your family and friends and fellow men. It's really something that's all tangled up in my mind and always rolling around picking up more idea lint. I'm going to be working to unravel it and knit it up into something useful.

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1 comment:

Julie said...

I know what you mean. I've been thinking about this a lot lately. It drives me nuts when people are over-protective of their children, but in the same breath, maybe what I see as over-protectiveness is really just their misguided way of sheltering them. It is such a balancing act.

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