Waah Waah…they’ll make more.
This is what my nine-year-old foster son said to me one day when I pointed out that he was wasting many of the Doritos he was eating by handling them carelessly. He earned himself a good, long, lecture for the comment. Since then he has grown into a very courteous and considerate young man, but his comment back then reflected the current attitude of a large portion of our society.
My grandmother lived through the depression and she became very much a product of that experience. I don’t think that she could have made it onto that television show about the people with hoarding addictions, because she kept everything that she saved far too meticulously. She always respected the value of every little tiny thing, no matter how dented or rusted it was. She definitely kept far too much stuff. While going through her house now, we are finding piles and piles of perfectly cleaned out foam coffee cups, enough to open a restaurant. Twisty ties that have been flattened out meticulously and stored away in her basement as well as gallon milk jugs, and old sheets…almost anything imaginable can be found.
Obviously, her behavior was not completely functional. Even though she had a lot of space to store all of those things in a relatively organized way, she should not have been keeping it all. My family is being forced to deal with the cleanup now. Her behavior bothers me a lot less than the caviler attitude that there is more than enough of everything though. Our modern society wastes so much, and maybe it is the way that I was raised, but it hurts my heart. I feel terrible when I am forced to throw away food that has spoiled. I am always reminded of the people who don’t have enough to eat. It’s not at all easy to prevent any waste from happening, believe me, I struggle with it all of the time. It scares me when I see gobs of people, not only wasting, but not even paying attention to the fact that they are doing it. There is no endless resource to keep providing all of the things that we are consuming. We are throwing away so much garbage…so many things we’ve consumed that we probably never even needed in the first place.
We have been slowly working on scaling things down around our house. Now that the kids are older the presents for events and holidays are getting much smaller and many fewer. When I think back to the holidays when they were toddlers…it was just madness. When I think of all of the toys that have been destroyed and thrown away in our past…it doesn’t make me happy. Some of them were gladly passed onto Goodwill or handed down…at least there is that. I find that the less stuff we have floating around our house, the more my kids appreciate each one of their possessions. It is definitely working for us, and in a house where I have to fight to get the clutter put away…less is way, way, more to me.
I do not want more Doritos, and yes I do know that they will keep making more, but I am attempting to help my children look at the world from a different perspective. It isn’t easy, it does take a little effort and a good tolerance for eye rolling. If I manage to get the point across though, they are going to be way ahead of the curve. As young people, just going out on their own, they will be better prepared to contribute to the world, because they will have more respect for the smallest of things. I believe that if they respect the world, it will respect them back.