Sunday, June 20, 2010

Less Really is More.

Before I become a Mum, I never much really thought about the environment, where 'stuff' come from, how it was made and who (human and animal) or what was being harmed in the process of my 'love it, gotta buy it' attitude. Nor did I much concern myself with those less fortunate than I.

Sure I donated money to the Salvo's, bought raffle tickets for various charity groups, attended grand charity balls, (you know the kind, organise a table of friends, go shopping for a new dress, bag and shoes to match, get your hair done professionally, we all book a room in the city for the night and make a huge weekend of it) gave blood, raised money for my World Vision 40 Hour Famine each year, knitted scarves for those less fortunate.

Now I am older and possibly a little wiser (!), I look back to my 'youth' and think how blind I was to all that surrounded me. My parents brought us all up to be responsible adults, to think for ourselves, to respect others no matter how they look or where they come from, no matter how much is in their bank account, or if they even have a bank account. To not judge others by the way they dress, or speak, and to help those that need our help. To think of those less fortunate than we are, to not waste food, to respect our belongings and those of others.

I would like to say thank you to my wonderful parents, you see, I am now 40 years old, and finally their messages through my life are being lived, I have made many mistakes and I have much learning ahead of me, each day is a new day, a new lesson to learn in everything I do, but the lessons are there, in my mind, I have that knowledge, I have that power to make things happen for the good.

Since having babies of my own, I am very aware of the future for my children, I want to make the world a better place, I know I am only 1 small human in the world, but I know that with my contribution to the future, then my children will have a chance at having a wonderful adult life to pass onto their own children, and hopefully when they are 40, they can realise that the messages we give to them now, will help them make the world a better place for their own families. Being 1 person, I can teach 2 children, then when they have children. . . . just like the pebble that skims the water and the ripples that spread from that one tiny action.

There has been much going through my very small head this weekend, quite a few things that happened last week have kept my little brain churning. I will try to not bore you with too much detail, however, . . . . . After having a meeting in regards to one of my children and their 'development' last week, I made a comment towards the end of our meeting that 'I felt less is more'. I was totally and absolutely supported by all sides and felt very much like the world had been lifted from my skinny shoulders. There is so much pressure on teachers, schools, and worst of all, the children to 'perform'. To tick those boxes, become the perfect 'C' student (Here in Australia a 'C' student is a perfect student. Means they are meeting all criteria set for them that is required of their year.)

I had a wonderful conversation with a Grandfather through our parent helper reading groups. He is retired now, but started out as a primary school teacher, then moved on to be a high school teacher and then lecturer at University. He has also worked with students (adults included) that needed the extra help with their work. He totally agreed with me that 'less is more', and the increasing pressures that are placed on children at younger, and younger ages.

One thing I got told by 3 total strangers last week and another couple we met over the weekend, was we should be very proud of our children, they are an absolute credit to us both as parents. The couple on the weekend I met at a party and they said our children were so happy and such good kids and they were pleased to hear 'please' and 'thank you' from them. To have those you know and love say it to you is equally important, they are part of your life, your days, your family, they are part of the community that your children belong, but to have total strangers say it to you, for no gain at all for themselves for saying it, makes me sort of blush. The most popular follow from their comment was, 'it's hard work bringing up a family, you never stop.' Too darn right, as a parent, it's 24/7, but we wouldn't change it for the world. My kids are my best lesson in life, they are the air that I breathe, they are the reason my heart is beating. I would do anything in my power to give them the absolute best of the best of the best to ensure they are cared for in every way. It's the scariest darn job in the world, you only get one crack at it, you gotta get it right.

Anyways, getting off track here, back to my 'less is more' theme, and giving my children the best of the best of the best, I want to make a difference for my family, I want to make a difference for the future. I want there to BE a future. In small steps, I am going to improve our standard of living.

When I put our bins out to be collected last week, I noticed that our 'landfill' bin was quite empty. I had honestly never thought about our bins, other than the days they go on the curb to be collected. Our greenwaste bin was, I guess, average, and our recycling bin was quite full.

I am going to concentrate on our landfill bin for now, I want to reduce it even more than I had last week. Less packaging, less crap. When I shop this week, instead of just looking at where the item is made and thinking of travel miles, labor, etc and looking at the preservatives and numbers in brackets, I am also going to look at the packaging that the item comes in. I know, that is going to make my grocery shop even longer, but I need to be 1 person that starts to make a difference. I know you are out there with me, you are nodding your heads, I am sure many of you have written about same. I want to join you, I want to be with you and tell everyone what I know too.

If you have your own blog, or know of a blog that you love to visit that believes less really is more, then can you please let me know of them. I will check them out, and put them on my blog so that we can get that ripple going. It can be anything from homemade soaps, through to recycling, cooking, living. I want to know about it.

Thank you for logging onto my blog, thank you for your thoughts. I never really started my blog with the thought that I would have such a wonderful community of people to share with. It was more of an online journal for my creative bits, but now it's so much more. I have learnt so much, and still I strive to learn more.


Rita said...

I have really enjoyed this post. Especially, the part about teachers, students etc. I do teach elementary and I don't agree with the way we push them. If we don't the administration will let us go. Students are required to pass the state standards tests. I have become less and less satisfied with my position. I think it is because I realize people in general should cut back, stop pushing, relax more, sew or refurbish, use less. I imagine you have read the Down to Earth blog and I try to follow some of her ways. Thank you for the reminder again of the better way to live.
Blessings to you.

angelina said...

very nice inspiring and thoughtful words joyce. i hope everyone in the world will eventually get round to this way of thinking. especially important to teach less and live more. let your kids and their friends see this in the ritual of your lifestyle. thats the best way to pass it on.xx

'Joyce' said...

Hi Rita, It's wonderful to hear the same thoughts from a teacher in the classroom. You are totally spot on re if you don't have your children meet the mark, you lose your job. I actually put that in my post last night, but took it out, simply because I am not an expert on any of the above, especially teaching, and so felt perhaps that I may put my foot in it. I am just posting from my own personal experiences and having a child that doesn't meet the mark in his class. I do read Down to Earth, a lovely blog. I want mine and my family to be less is more, it's going to take some changes, but they will all be for the better and for the future. Blessings also to you, and thank you for stopping by.

'Joyce' said...

Hi Angelina, Thank you for your kind words. The last few weeks have been so busy, but that's all my fault. I have let 'things' take over, I have let 'busy' rule. It has to change, and I have to be the one to change it. I am so looking forward to school holidays, we are going to have such a wonderful break from it all. We can make less, more. Blessings to you.

TK said...

Hi Joyce,
Well I was meant to find your post- for some reason unbeknown to me I ticked YES to all follow up emails re Meet Me At Mikes blog the other day & hence have now seen your comments & read this post!!!
I was much like you - just lived in my safe consumer world without a second thought to what made up my consumer world but in recent years I have really tried to become much more aware. I spend too long at the supermarket annoying everyone as I read labels & check out packaging - you have inspired me to be much more thorough!!! We now have the ability to put food scraps in our green waste bin so I am scurrying around putting everything I can in paper tweol or newspaper to put out in our bin - I am aiming to do more each week - I love your idea of getting a group together to push to make a difference - THANKYOU frome me!
I blog about little stuff, don't have a gazillion followers but it helps me with my creative flow. I do not sew, crochet or anything amazing like that, just write, bake & scrapbooking. I have comitted to my blog for me & me alone - my journal in a way & many times it has spurred me to go off & write stuff.
We found out my son is dyslexic earlier this year & so at last we had answers for why he struggled so much with reading & writing - less is indeed more & I now try to have patience with my Max & concentrate on good solid time at homework rather than long laborious drawn out fights with tears & tantrums - we are ALL much happier!!!
Sorry this has ended up being a LONG epistle but I just really wante to connect with you to thankyou form the bottom of my heart - your stuff has really reasonated with me today!! TK xx

'Joyce' said...

Hi TK, oh I read your post, nodding my head, yes!, I do that too! How wonderful to meet you and let's join the rest of the slowly growing thinkers to improve our tomorrow, by starting today with less to make more. I too wrap my food scraps in newspaper (we get 3 papers delivered to our place each week that we don't pay for - I was even tempted there for a bit to subscribe just so that I could have more newspaper, however, I now just ask the neighbours to give me theirs, especially when I want to clean our windows, and use newspaper for my gardens). Oh I love how you talk about your blog, so true. Good on you for stepping back a little for your darling Max. Since I have taken the less is more approach to my eldest, you know he has been getting stuck into his homework without a single grumble. It's only been a week, but such a great beginning to our less is more approach, and confirmation to me that perhaps this just may work. Don't apologise for your comments, I love them, every single one, and any thoughts my readers have are taken on board. Like I mentioned I am learning all the time, each day is a new discovery for me and something to be learnt. Each person that I meet has something wonderful to teach me, and I so love that. Bless you TK, and may your journey with little Max be a joyful one in all that you do from school, to play.

TK said...

Why is it we fight so much to just play with our kids I wonder? - it is good for them & good for us too, may I dare add!!! We spend too much time in today's world being "on task", improving, getting ahead, doing better etc etc & along the way we seem to have forgotten to just be.....look at a 2 year old kid & se how happy they are with simple play - many lessons there to learn I think!! Thanks for your encouragements, TK xx