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I want my children to have access to as many things as possible that will teach them and help them reach their highest potential. However…..
I do not want to own all of those things.
So how is it possible to give my children the resources they need without feeling the need to purchase it all?
One thing that I remember our mother doing with us as girls was taking a weekly trip to the library. We would walk there (it was a five minute walk from our house) and spend a couple of hours doing school work (we were homeschooled) and looking through the books. We became friends with the librarians and looked forward to our time spent there.
Fast forward twenty-something years, and I am now the mother taking her children to the library.
The library has changed a lot since I was a kid- there are now computers, games, puzzles, and cool bean bag chairs for making yourself comfortable with a good book. There is now story time for children under the school age during the school year and learning class time for all ages during the summer.
The library has thousands of books, that are available to enjoy. Toddlers, children and adults alike can enjoy all of the books free of charge (unless one is late returning these books, then there is a late fee…. speaking of…..).
One of the steps to simplicity found in Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster is learn to enjoy things without owning them.
There are so many books I want my children to enjoy, but it would be impossible for us to buy them all. A library offers access to a plethora of materials for education and entertainment.
Learning to enjoy things without owning them can reach far beyond books. There are parks, beaches, festivals, and other things that can be enjoyed for free or for a nominal price without having to own anything.
The beauty of learning to find ways of enjoying things without owning them is two-fold. In some cases it teaches patience in waiting your turn before you can enjoy something. It also reduces the amount of stuff brought into your living space which keeps clutter at bay. Clutter is an enemy of simplicity.
I want my children to grow up understanding they do not need to own everything in order to enjoy it.
They do not need to have an extensive video library; they can borrow movies from the library or rent them for a $2.50 at a local kiosk or wait for them to arrive on Netflix. They do not need to download every song they like; they can enjoy Pandora or Spotify free of charge and enjoy their favorite songs and find others like it. They do not need to purchase every book they want to read; they can borrow it from the library.
What important lessons will this teach them in the long run?
- Not everything needs to be owned in order for them to enjoy it.
- To save their money for things they really want or need.
- To critically think about purchases they do make.
- Less clutter equals less stress.
How will they learn this lesson?
It starts with me and the example I show them. Children will not learn this lesson on their own. They need to be shown that we can learn to find ways to enjoy things without owning them in order for them to learn how to do the same.
The library is a good place to start.