Living a life of simplicity is not necessarily only owning less (though that is a big part of it), it is rather living in such a way that nothing owns you. This can be an offensive statement to someone who believes that their independence grants them the autonomy to purchase and consume what they want, when they want it. After all, the money is there (sometimes), shouldn’t I be able to spend it any way that I want?
But this isn’t just about money.
This is about all of the resources that we have at our disposal. Take for instance, time. Each of us is given all of the time that we need, and the challenge to use the time that we have wisely. Yet, so many people in our culture are scrambling and exhausted to pack into one day all of the activities that extend, and over-extend us in numerous directions. We render this mindset into the lives of our family with the idea that if we are not active, then somehow we will all end up being bored.
Trouble is, we are entertaining ourselves to death.
We have bought into the lie that self-esteem comes with accomplishment. Accomplishment comes from productivity. Productivity comes from being involved. Being involved leads us to packed calendars. Packed calendars leave us with more and more to maintain and keep up with.
There is a proverb in the Scriptures that talks about training a child in the way they should go. For many, this verse has come to mean that if we control the direction that our children go with the help of external forces of some kind, then we will be able to keep them framed in so tightly, that there is no way that they will leave a certain path.
What tends to happen then is that who the child actually is gets lost in the shuffle of maintaining all of the things that have been incorporated into the child’s life. Because of the disease of doing and consuming, when our overextended children end up failing to live up to our expectations, our response is to find one more thing to pile on to their already tapped lives, with the hope that maybe this activity, or purchase will be the golden ticket to keeping them on the path.
The truth is, the idea of training a child in the way they should go actually means stripping away all of the things in their life that are not going to nurture who they really are so that they have the opportunity to be known. Each one of us are unique. Nobody will ever think they way that you do. Nobody will ever feel the way that you do. More ‘stuff’ whether it be time fillers or monetary purchases will ever help discover who a person actually is.
In order to train a child in the way they should go, we as parents need to cut through all of the ‘stuff’ of life, and actually get to know who they are so that their being may be uncovered.
This could be a scary pursuit for those who are not used to knowing and being known at the basic human level. It is much easier to buy something that is going to temporarily provide a shallow sense of meaning, with the hope that happiness will follow.
Removing the clutter of activity and things in our homes will leave us vulnerable and exposed to the simple question, ‘Do I really know the people in my life?’
Is knowing and being known enough?
The simple answer is… yes.