The simple life. I've been thinking about this so much lately. I think about my childhood versus the childhood of my own children and I wonder if “more” is better in the long run. We didn't get a lot of “stuff” on a regular basis. Birthdays and Christmas were always special, but the in between times always always filled with fruits of imagination instead of fruits of the pocketbook. We couldn't buy it, so we made it, or we pretended it, dreamed it, imagined it, drew it, wrote about it. I remember wanting a new doll once and I didn't want to wait until my birthday. So, with my little sewing box and some old t-shirts, I made my own dolls. Dolls complete with yarn hair, button eyes, and a Popsicle stick inside to keep the head up. I adored these dolls and was so proud of them. I always loved ballerinas and wanted lessons. This was impossible for my family to afford. So, at age 9, I wrote my first “novels.” Or so I thought they were. Pages and pages of stories of the “Magical Kingdom of Balleta.” Or maybe the day when I wanted a blank journal to “publish” my stories. I made these too – hand sewn spines and fabric covers. No, I'm not milking for sympathy here. These experiences made me who I am. They fed my creative spirit and planted seeds that have grown with me to adulthood.
So, have I done a disservice to my children? They basically get what they want to a degree. No, we aren't extravagant, but I wonder if my children have ever had the experience of wanting something so bad that they could figure out a way to enjoy it without actually putting it into the shopping cart. I want them to have a passion for something and know that if it's worth having, that it's worth working for, and dreaming of and planning for. When they do something they do it full force and with all their heart. I tell my kids the story of how my family sacrificed to buy me my first flute. My father promptly informed me that if I didn't practice, the flute would be sold. He laughs when I remind him of this. He had to make me stop practicing. He couldn't take the scale practice after about the first two hours. I want my children to work, like someone is going to take something precious from them if they don't use it. I want them to appreciate what they have ( a talent, a skill, an opportunity) so much that they will want to make it better, more refined – that they fear they may lose it. I want them to know there are many things in this life that can't be bought, any maybe some things that we shouldn't buy anyway.
My mom always says, “just make do with what you have.” I'll take this a step further. Make do and make better – with what you have. Maybe “making do” will make you better. We have a long way to go.