That’s all. I can’t hate this season nearly as much, when I’m tucking in a couple of exhausted kids that have spent the day with huge smiles, hugs for everyone, and constant affirmations that “this was the best Christmas ever”. As much as I can’t stand the way our society buys into everything “they” tell us to do, I see those happy faces and my heart just explodes. I’m sorry, I’m weak. I am constantly telling myself that I’m not going to buy anymore foreign products, and I do try not to, but then there is some other doll, or toy, that they just have to have, and I cave. I don’t even try to take the high, moral ground, I just cave. Sometimes I hate myself for not sitting down and explaining to them that buying their “Monster High” products mean that some friend of theirs father doesn’t have a job in a factory making those dolls here. That that overpriced “Hello Kitty” watch just exploited one more Chinese labourer for $.25 an hour, or that the “Pillow Pets” that they got today, means that a Canadian family had to go to the food bank for their turkey dinner. I haven’t got the heart to tell them that the way we have raised them, is the very reason that they probably won’t be able to afford to have children of their own when they grow up.
I wish I could tell them that I’m sorry. I wish I could tell them that all of their friend’s parents shouldn’t buy those same products for their kids, and just because they do, doesn’t mean that we should as well. I would love to teach them about social responsibility, but how can I be so hypocritical, seeing as I’m in the same boat as they are? Maybe we shouldn’t let them watch the fucking Disney or Family channels anymore. If they don’t see the ads for these shoddy pieces of shit, maybe they won’t want us to buy them. I guess we will then have to pull them out of school, because if they are hanging out with kids that are watching the shows on these networks, they are surely going to want to watch them themselves. Where does it end? I guess you find a few other like-minded parents, and maybe set up a little home-schooling network, so that they have a social life, but are segregated from the majority of kids their age. I guess there will be no sports, because no kids want to be teased about their homemade clothes, weird outlook on life, and the fact that their parents are crackpot granolas that won’t let their kids lead a normal life.
I really don’t know what to do. I wish I did. I wish that these kids could understand that if they didn’t want all of this “stuff”, they could have such an enriched life of travel, reading, and living. Think about how much money you waste on crap, and figure it out over a five year period. What would your figure be? $20000, $40000, maybe $100000? Now think about what that money could mean for your kids. A summer trip to Europe, the arctic, or Africa? Maybe it could bankroll your own business, or would be put towards some RRSPs for you or them, if that’s your thing. I don’t know what you want for you or your family, but I know if I had an extra $40000 every five years, I’d get a little acreage, grow some food and build a little off-the-grid place where I would eat what I produce, and try to live a healthy, self sustaining lifestyle. I say try, because I don’t know if it would work or not. I sure hope it would though. I can’t think of anything better than to get up in the morning, go do the chores, get my relaxed ass to whatever amazing job I have, and come home after I was done, to top everyone’s water up, check for fresh eggs, and pick some beans and tomatoes out of the garden for supper. Maybe after the supper dishes are cleaned up, sit around with a library book for a bit, help the kids with their homework, if I’m able, and when it gets dark, head to the cocoon with the love of my life.
I guess that’s the romantic in me, but it’s the same dream I’ve had for the last ten years. I hope one day it becomes more than a dream, but until that time, I’ll keep drawing up plans in my head, listening to other people’s stories, and looking for that one big break. I’m lucky to have a partner that allows me to dream my own dream, and even though it may not be her ideal life, she’s willing to look at compromises that could be made for a comfortable life for all of us. I guess I have it pretty good, because up until now, my dreams had to be the same dreams as someone else’s, or they would remain just that… dreams.
I realize that switching two young girls over to that sort of life would greatly benefit them in so many ways, but the culture shock would be so great, that it would probably drive them away, and alienate them. For this reason, I couldn’t foresee this transition fully happening for at least another seven or eight years. That gives me lots of time to learn what I can from others, sock away what we can, and maybe change the way we live a little bit in the meantime. I guess every little bit helps, and my one big thing this year is going to be composting. We have the space now, and I think it will help with the amount of waste we produce, and it will help fertilize the gardens. (If we ever get that energetic.)
Anyhow, maybe you could take a look at your spending habits, figure out what you can do without, and try to educate your kids about how much the things that they want cost, how much of that money stays in their communities, and what that money could get them in the long run. I know that right now they just want shit, but over time, they may get a little smarter, quicker than we did.
Blow up your TV, throw away your paper, go to the country, build you a home,