Friday, May 11, 2007

Simplicity

In the last few months, there has seemed to be a greater call on mine and Sheryl's lives toward simplicity, and we're trying to figure out how to do this within a community of people who feel called in the same way.

What I've tried to work through is why there are more and more people feeling this kind of call. Obviously there is a strong spiritual aspect to it. People are trying to pursue the way of Christ and one of the paths to doing that is through divesting themselves of things that hold them back.

I think however that there's another aspect to all of this. All generations want the generation after them to do better than they did. So parents sacrifice to send their children to private schools and expensive colleges to ensure that they will have every opportunity to succeed. There's a part of me that wonders if my generation looked at the family sacrifices that many of our parents made (both parents working, for example) and wondered if all the success was worth it. I think that's one reason that more families are having a parent stay at home.

With that being said, how reasonable is it to pursue simplicity within our culture that values wealth as a sign of success? And regardless of how reasonable it is, how difficult is it? And if you have been someone who has pursued this practice, what steps have you taken within your own lives to do so?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's very reasonable to pursue this, but you have to seperate your values from society and get to the point where you don't see wealth as a sign of success. What are your goals as a family? What would you like to spend your time doing if you weren't working?

My husband and I are living trying to live simply, partially to meet financial goals (allowing me to stay home with future children) and partially as an escape from our workdays. We live in an 800sf home, don't have a computer, cable, etc. This is a starting point.. we end up spending more time talking, working out in the yard together (we also aspire to grow more of our own food). It's quiet and peaceful and restful. We have a very small space, so we are conscientious about everything we bring in the house- no junk, no clutter. We constantly purge to clean things out. Overall, I feel very freed by this lifestyle- our goal is to spend more time together, building our relationship, live more organically with less impact, and work for the future we envision. The serenity of it all was just an added bonus!
Anyway... when you zero in on why you would choose to live more simply, I think it's a very attainable goal.. it does require a shift in mentality, though. I wish you the best!

Kenneth & Victoria said...

It's funny that you are writing about this. I have been working and praying about this very thing for a while now. The simplification is tied to another emerging passion for being gentle to the Earth. So far some of the practical things I came up with are going grocery shopping only once a week, and so far we've done a good job of taking a stroller there instead of a car. I limited my TV viewing to about 2-3 hrs a week, and even that is in conjunction with another task like folding laundry. I VERY rarely go shopping for clothes or other non food/housekeeping items. Maybe once a month or every two months. I find that when I limit my exposure to media I become less of a consumer. Probably the biggest thing towards simplification was moving to Columbia, where Ken works , to save about 1 hour a day of commuting. We also now get to meet up for lunch sometimes. Of course it's easier to have a simple life in a sense now because all I have time for is caring for my kids, parents, and going to work. I am very interested to see what other people came up with. I often ask friends for ideas. All the best, and keep us updated! --Victoria

chris said...

Be careful or the next thing you will do is buy carbon offsets, which is a scam if I ever heard of one.

I'm certainly not a conspicuous consumer but I think a lot of this is a fad. You might try financial planning as a way to channel your resources for your "golden years".

Justin said...

I often wonder about this whole simple life kinda stuff. I think its always wise to try and live on less than you have, but then again, at some point, I could see how it could become irresponsible. Technically, life would be more simple if you didn't go to the doctor and let the great physician do whatever he wants. Technically, your life is more simple without a car than with. But if you don't have insurance or you don't have a car, you eventually can't provide for your family.

I guess I just struggle with where needs become wants. Its all so relative... depending on how you grew up. The needs of an impoverished African are much different from what we'd consider needs. For some, any roof over their head, even a one room shack, is luxurious. I don't know. Its a confusing issue for me.

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