Thursday, November 20, 2008

Daring to Raise Counter-Culture Children

We live in a culture that as a general rule says "Wealth and possessions equal happiness". When you read magazines and from other things we hear and see we would generally think that kids aren't happy unless they have the latest video games, have up-to-date clothes, receive many big and exciting gifts for Christmas, have a big birthday party every year with all their friends, visit fast food restaurants on a regular basis and get to eat junk food. I have seen many stressed out parents who are despairing on how to raise their children in a different way. I am here to say, It can be done!! Not only are we doing it but I have seen many others do it as well.

I have felt so very blessed lately when thinking about how I am looking forward to the Holidays with absolutely no stress! ~~~ I feel very blessed when my children greatly enjoy homemade graham crackers as a treat even though they are very low on sweetener and high on whole grain. ~~~ I feel very blessed when we take the kids shopping, and we don't have to deal with any asking or begging. ~~~I feel very blessed when I hear my daughter wonder whether it is more fun to get gifts or give them. And decide that giving is probably more fun. ~~~ I feel very blessed when my children think Christmas is a wonderful holiday even though we only have small presents that fit in stockings and most of them are homemade or edible.~~~

There are so many ways that I feel blessed and it makes me so thankful that we have chosen to raise our children in the way we do. We have not done everything perfectly and our kids do want things from time to time, but for the most part the are incredibly happy and content with what they have. They know that buying new things is not what makes us happy or gives our life meaning.

Here are some of the ways that have helped in our raising of counter-culture children. (obviously every family is different and each family has different goals, so I am not suggesting that our is "THE right way" it just works very well for us and so I thought I would share. )

  • They watch no children's television and only occasionally sit in on news or sports with Ken. This helps us to avoid commercials of all sorts. If they don't see it they aren't going to want it.
  • We homeschool. I know some consider this to be sheltering and I agree it is, but what sort of parents are we if we don't do some sheltering? (I know I am very thankful for a heavenly Father who shelters me!) Homeschooling helps a lot with raising free thinkers, not people that have to do and be just like everyone else.
  • We try to teach our children the value of money. Even at their young ages they aren't just given everything, they often have to work and earn it.
  • We talk! I love to visit with my children (as does Ken). I have discussed things like having so much stuff in our lives and wanting to decrease, my desire to save money, my goals for not wasting and really using what we have. They are interested and love helping me with projects.
  • We aren't afraid to be the parents. Unfortunately this is often not done. Children need guide lines and structure and someone to help them to learn self control and self discipline. That is our job as parents!
  • Show them it is fun!! I think this solution will work in pretty much every situation. If you get excited about making a homemade present for someone and involve them in it, they will get excited too. Not only will they enjoy giving homemade presents but they will learn to appreciate giving them as well. Have fun making healthy homemade snacks and food together and they will enjoy eating them too. Make frugality a game, like our current challenge of going for a year (longer for me) without buying any clothes or shoes. Kids love games and enjoy helping to figure out how to make do with what we have.

    We were blessed to start with our children in this way from the beginning so we didn't have to work against anything that was previously ingrained in them, however I still think that these tips would help those who aren't starting from birth. What has worked for you in raising counter culture children?


martha said...

I love your picture of the kids! so funny.
Praise God we were raised to realize We don't have to have whatever the "Jones" have even to not watching TV. Being confident I can home school my kids, even though I know without a doubt that I am not really smart enough but that they will be able to be to learn better at home then away, is something a lot of people are not brave enough to do.
Love you!

Rose said...

Wow-what a beautiful post, thank you! I am slowly trying to refocus our family on what Christmas is truly about. It's certainly not an overnight change, but we're trying. They know, but it's so hard to fight the obsessive commerciality (is that a word? lol) out there.
I don't homeschool (though I often wish I did!), but I have tremendous respect for those who can!!
Thanks for sharing your insights. It's not easy being counter-culture, but sooo worth it in the end!
Blessings ~

Christy said...

Do you have a recipe for homemade graham crackers? Also, have you made other kinds of crackers...similar to wheat thins or vege rounds or cheezits? My girls love that stuff to take in their lunches and I'm hoping to make some that wouldn't be full of the extra preservatives and artificial flavoring!


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