This afternoon I was reading what the Green Smoothie Girl had to say about how to get your kids to eat healthy food. She was emphatic about the fact that we allow our kids a smorgasbord of options when what they really need is to know that the expectation is for them to eat what they are served whether they like it or not. Period. They may kick and scream until they know that we aren't going to bend, but then they will eat what they are given, picky eater or not. Last night Hannah and Micah gobbled down their vegan lasagna packed with eggplant, mushrooms, zucchini and kale. Micah didn't want it but he ate it without complaining after he knew I wasn't going to cave and give him the cornbread he wanted.
One of the things I was dreading when we started this project was shopping with the kids or going places where they might see fun things to buy and having to endure the whining and pleading for me to buy them things. It turns out that they only do that when they think there's a chance I'll say yes. Since we've explained what we're doing, peace has come to our shopping experiences. It is lovely. I know they still want things, but they don't usually ask because they know what the answer will be. If they do ask, I don't have to have to decide if I should or should not indulge them. I simply say, "no", and that's that. No begging, just peace. Ahhhh! I can think of many areas that we could apply this principle to!
A few weeks ago during the plague of viruses that swept through our home, I decided to do a little home schooling and showed Hannah the video on the Story of Stuff website. It's not geared specifically towards kids but it has good graphics and simply explains the flow of consumption from extraction of resources to disposal. Hannah loved it - wants to share it with her class and even asked to watch it again the other day. She brings up things all the time that she has questions about.
Hannah loved that we were able to trade in Micah's mitt and cleats in at Play it Again Sports (locations throughout the country, you can sell them your stuff and buy used or new with credit). She doesn't mind buying clothes second hand and she is really into it because she understands why. I think that so often we underestimate not only our kids capacity to learn and understand, but we underestimate what values we teach on a daily basis. They absorb everything, including our consumption habits.
Thrift store shopping update: Getting easier and I actually like it!
We don't actually advocate going without socks! We are two sisters with a common goal: 2011 is our year to step away from cultural messages that try to force us to define ourselves as consumers. To that end, we are committed to spend this year buying only what we need, and to buying used items whenever possible.
We decided to use this forum to document our experiences, share successes and challenges, and support each other in our efforts.