Drug testing

Simple Living in a Materialistic World

We were sitting in the family room. My kids had finished their first day back at school after the holiday break, and my wife was working late. Michael, my six-year-old son, was finger knitting. Sarah, my eight-year-old, was knitting a scarf. I sat near them and folded clothes. Occasionally someone would share something that had happened during the day, but otherwise it was quiet.

And as we sat there doing our chores, I began to appreciate this time we were spending together. The orgy of presents, travel, and Christmas cookies was over. The routines and rhythms of the work week had begun again. My kids needed structure as badly as I did. We were getting it by being together in this quiet, simple way.

As I sat there folding clothes, I marveled at how little we really needed to be happy. It was quite enough just to be together as we did our work. Many of the gifts my kids received for Christmas were already put away. As often happens, there was a brief flurry of excitement when the gifts were first discovered. Shortly after, the thrill of ownership faded away. And while my kids may be too young to understand it, I'd like them to know that possessions don't really make them happy. When you live in a consumer-driven and materialistic society, it's just the message you receive. As author Christopher Lasch states, "A mass advertising culture creates consumers who are perpetually unsatisfied, restless, anxious, and bored."

I'd like my kids to know someday that the pursuit of possessions has made more people unhappy than happy, and that it actually ends up limiting their freedom of choice in the world. I'd like them to know that possessions can keep them focused on their own self-interest, rather than focusing on how they can benefit others. And I'd like them to know that one of the keys to a happy life is the pursuit of simple pleasures, which, in today's day and age, is an act of courage.

I thought about all of the possessions I had somewhere in the house. How many of them had I really used in the last 6 months? How many of them really had an impact on my life or made me happy beyond the first few minutes of receiving them?

Only a handful.

And as I sat there with my kids enjoying our time together, I sensed that more trips to the Goodwill were in order, as well as a greater commitment to simple living in our family. John Burroughs, the nineteenth-century naturalist, observed that "the number of things we can really make our own is limited. We cannot drink from the ocean be we ever so thirsty. A cup of water from the spring is all we need."

As parents in America today, we're often made to feel thirsty. We're made to feel as though we need to provide the latest gadgets for ourselves and for our children. And it seems that at the rate we're going, these gadgets will cost us most of our money and most of our time.

Don't be fooled. All that you and your kids really need is a "cup of water from the spring." It may not impress your neighbors, but it will help your family to feel happier.

It may even change your attitude about folding clothes!

Mark Brandenburg MA, CPCC, coaches busy parents by phone to balance their life and improve their family relationships. For a FREE twenty minute sample session by phone, ebooks and courses for fathers, articles, and a FREE weekly newsletter, go to http://www.markbrandenburg.com. or email him at mark@markbrandenburg.com.

In The News:

Beachgoers in Bonita Spring, Florida were treated to a strange sight last week: an alligator going for a swim.
A remarkable map created in space over 50 years ago could lead a modern-day explorer to the sites of treasure-laden shipwrecks in the Bahamas.
Scientists studying bones unearthed from an ancient tomb in China’s Shaanxi Province have discovered the remains of a new but totally extinct species of ape.
Mars may be known as the Red Planet, but it's a "blue dune" image NASA has released that's got everyone talking.
Experts in Italy say they have found the earliest surviving work by Leonardo da Vinci.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates is pouring £3million ($4 million) into a project to create killer mosquitoes that destroy each other through sex.
Bedrock under Antarctica is rising more swiftly than ever recorded — about 1.6 inches (41 millimeters) upward per year. And thinning ice in Antarctica may be responsible.
A new study validates Einstein's theory of general relativity in a distant galaxy for the first time.
On Mars, the sky is dust.
A small moon rock gifted to Cambodia by the United States amid the Vietnam War has resurfaced after being all but lost to time and strife.

Camps for Troubled Teens: Disciplines and Wilderness

Parents looking for a quick fix usually choose troubled teen... Read More

Unique Baby Names

What's in a name? Er?well, everything, really! Of course your... Read More

Raising a Violent-Free Teen in 10 Easy Steps

The disquieting behavior of teenagers in the 21st century, is... Read More

Top Seven Tips To Become A Good Stepmother

Becoming a stepmother can undoubtedly be one of the most... Read More

Create a Story Book with Your Child

A fun way to build your child's imaginationWriting is still... Read More

Mommy, I Can?t Sleep! Sleep Disturbance in Children

"Just turn the lights off and go to sleep"Do you... Read More

A Minute Can Turn into Hours for the Child of a Work-at-Home Mom

In theory, working at home is an ideal situation. But... Read More

Drugs and Violence In Public Schools

Many public schools not only fail to educate our children,... Read More

Joining a Gang: How to Help Kids Prevent it, How to Tell if Theyve Joined One, How to Help Them Out

While youth gangs are nothing new -- they've been traced... Read More

The Importance of Mothers

Moms, did you ever question your value as a role... Read More

Uses for Dirty Diapers

As the father of a toddler, I am an expert... Read More

Parenting Your Teenager: How to Respond to Manipulation

Q. My daughter has gotten very good at manipulating us,... Read More

His Toy, Her Toy

I remember when my daughter was born. Visions of her... Read More

Childhood Obesity & Parents Healthy Food Confusion

Many parents struggle to know which foods are healthy for... Read More

Guide to Choosing a Computer System for Your Child

Before going further into choosing computers for children, I believe... Read More

Back to School - Disappontment?

Our back-to-school buying habits do not help kids succeed in... Read More

They Call it Puppy Love

My son is 6 yrs old. He came home the... Read More

Dexedrine, Cylert, and Adderall in the Treatment of ADHD

Dexedrine is not prescribed very often for the treatment of... Read More

Parents of Teens: Do You Ever Ask WHY is she so MEAN to me?

Do you ever wonder what is behind the occasional nasty... Read More

The Top 10 Tips on Hiring a Babysitter

1. Encourage your babysitter by keeping their favorite foods/snacks on... Read More

Missing The Bus

As a step daughter and step grand daughter, I followed... Read More

Mommies and Me Special Time

Creating and making special memories with your child is very... Read More

Is My Child Lazy?

Is there a difference between lazy and unmotivated? Why do... Read More

The Personality of a Virgo Child

Your Virgo Baby..August 23 - September 22Virgo children are honest... Read More

How Effective Is EEG Neurofeedback Training in Treating the Symptoms of ADHD?

Many research studies have shown the overall effectiveness of stimulant... Read More

led parking lot light fixtures street lighting Pete's produce ..