Monday, March 23, 2009

Living simply

Now that I'm pregnant and thinking about what my son will turn out like, I often wonder... Will he appreciate the little things? When I was younger my family didn't have much. New clothes were like a phenomenon that I heard about from time to time but never really saw. Hand me downs were very common. Sadly there usually stained or had holes in them. As a result I learned how to mend my own clothes and cover up a stain with a patch of some sort.
Things are different now. I can afford to buy nicer things and no one gives me stained or "holey" hand me downs anymore. Yet because of the way I was raised I still mend holes that are mendable and cover up stains with patches or simpley re-use the fabric for something like a rag quilt.
With the economy taking a nose dive many people are now turning back to those types of quick fixes for things as opposed to running to the mall for something new.
I wonder if my son will appreciate the simple things, like growing his own veggies in the spring and summer or the true value of a hard earned dollar.
I always noticed that my cousins who didn't have an after school job didn't fully appreciate a $20 Old Navy fleece pullover. If it got lost in school, they wouldn't go after it until their mom would ask "Where is that sweater I bought you?" After a huff and puff of aggravation they would hunt it down.
I got a job when I was 14 because my dad wanted me to get out there and learn how to deal in the real world. So I got a job as a cashier at a clothing store. It taught me to appreciate the things that I bought with my own money. My parents would still buy me things if I really needed them. Anything that wasn't a necessity was up to me to buy. So if I wanted a nice dress to wear to a formal dance, I bought it myself. I really wanted to go to a Catholic High School so I also paid for that myself. My partial scholarship helped a lot also. Looking back, I would've been fine going to the public high school, but I had gone to Catholic School all my life so I wasn't really up for a big huge school when all I had ever known was a little school.
Then came college, which I am still paying for. While in college I met people who had never worked a day in their life. Yet these people had their own car, gas for the car and very nice clothes. Then somthing else dawned on me. They may have those things but their parents dictate everything in their lives. From what they wear to where they go in their car. Since I bought everything with my own money my parents never told me how to dress or where I could and couldn't go.
During college I learned how to knit, after seeing one of my friends making a really pretty scarf for herself. I bought a book and taught myself the basics. After a lot of practice and frustration I got it down to a science. I learned just how cool it was to make presents for others and see how much they appreciated it because it was handmade. Anyone that didn't appreciate it, just didn't get anything else from me that was handmade.
More and more I see many people turning away from the luxuries that we once all enjoyed and turning to a simpler way of living. Some people are gardening more. Some enjoy knitting things for charity or as gifts for others. Others are sewing quilts or just doing simple alterations themselves.
It's nice to see the resurgence. I wonder though if when the economy gets better, if we'll all go back to our wastefulness or if we'll continue along the simple path and teach the younger generations that are growing up now the true value of a hard earned dollar, before it's too late. I've already decided to show my some how to knit and sew. That way he can sew his buttons back onto his own shirts and pants. If he ever needs a super warm blanket for himself or someone else he can make that himself also. I'm not going to turn him into a complete pansy. I still want him to get dirty and play in the mud. I just want him to know the basics. After that if he wants to learn how to do lacework in knitting or some fancy sewing technique then he can ask me to teach him.
I just want him to know how to live simply and be economical. We'll play in the mud together in the warmer months. The winter months and rainy days I'll set aside for the crafty stuff. Oh yeah and by the way... Men actually invented knitting. With that interesting fact I'll leave you all to ponder how we can all live a little more simply.


Anonymous said...

This is an excellent thing to think about. I also grew up without much, but I always had what I needed and learned to appreciate small simle things. As soon as I could start working to make money to buy things I wanted, I started babysitting, then when I was 16 I got a cashier job at a pharmacy. I think it's great you want to teach your son these things. I just happened upon your blog today but I'll continue reading. :)

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled upon your blog while looking for patterns. I think this is an excellent point to ponder. I also grew up not being handed all things freely. We always had what we needed, and learned to value simple things early on. I didn't learn to knit until a few years ago, but my mother sewed and mended our clothes, and we almost always wore hand-me-downs or clothes donated through our church. I think it's great you want to instill these skills and values in your son.