I am a mother. I have two small children and, as all mothers will agree, I have been constantly aware how much our kids are brainwashed to want stuff. It is hard that even in school they do that. Recently there was a book fair at my sonâ€™s school. At the present moment we are really short of cash for extras so there is no money for spares.Â And I am a big FAN of books so I donâ€™t usually question buying a book! Anyway, along comes my 4 year old son (who canâ€™t read) with two little slips of paper saying that he wants two books, for the â€œlovelyâ€ bargain of US$50. Just so you have an idea of how expensive that is here, I can buy around 6kg of red meat (prime) for a whole month with that sort of money. And if I go for white meat I can buy even more!
So, I tell him, no I am not buying any books. The next day, before he goes to school, he looks at me and demands money because they told him he could buy a book and he just had to ask me for the money. You donâ€™t explain to a 4 year old the intrinsic ties of selling and how salespeople are really there to make you buy stuff. You just tell them: No, I have no money for books now. And that is that.Â
Our children have to learn that not everything in TV is for real and that they donâ€™tÂ NEED every single item they WANT. I have cable TV and they watch cartoons and there is a constant flow of advertising. From toys to cleaning products the commercial breaks are filled with advertisings of every conceivable toy on earth and all the must haves for children. My kids have a lot of toys. I have them under control now, but I always dread Christmas because it seems like a tsunami of new things will hit my house. I try to keep things under control, but grandparents and aunts and godmothers are hard to controlâ€¦lol. However as I work from home I am constantly asked: Mom, can I have that? Mom, can you buy that for Christmas? Mom, I really liked that oneâ€¦ And so on.Â
I have learned that we have to say no. Every time they ask me for a toy/plaything/whatever, I always ask them if they donâ€™t have enough. Or what do they wish to donate to someone who has nothing, so they can have a new toy. That also teaches them the value of donation. It is inevitable that new toys will come, so the old have to go. We and they know that there are toys that are overlooked for a time and are not played with anymore. But I digress.
I always tell my children that advertisers mislead you because they want you to buy what they are selling. I was once watching a car commercial with my 6 year old and he asked me if everyone was happy because of the car, because it was a better car than ours (it actually was way better, but a lot more expensive). So I explained to him that a car, no matter how shiny or beautiful can not make a person happy. I told him that that beautiful car did the same thing as ours, but it was more expensive, because it had a few trinkets that ours did not have. Still, it was just a car. And he concluded that a car cannot make you happy. And I said that applied to toys, clothes and many things shown on TV commercial breaks. And he asked: â€œSo they lie to us Mom?â€ I said: â€œAll the time.â€Â
I donâ€™t know if he will remember what I said, but I am sure to keep insisting for both my children to remember that the advertisers tell we need something, just to make us want something.Â
Donâ€™t stand idle in front of TV commercials. Criticize the product if you feel you must, tell your children that the toy is useless if you think so. (I once refused to buy a little robotic fish because it cost US$40 and it did nothing much!), make them more aware of what they are seeing. If you are not being brainwashed, chances will be they will also begin to see the misleading aspects of advertising.
Today’s Mini Mission
Declutter any kitchen utensils or gadgets that you donâ€™t use often enough to warrant keeping. ~ Who isnâ€™t on the lookout for something that can make our workload lighter. When it comes to the home the kitchen is a major source of this focus. The problem is that many of the gadgets on the market donâ€™t live up to their promise to lighten that load. The utensils drawer ends up with three different styles of peelers, can openers, potato mashers etc and the shelves are packed with all manner of electric gadgets. I must say that some credit has to be given to anyone who still believes on home cooking rather than caving into buying, not always healthy, prepared meals, but be sceptical about the usefulness or such gadgets.
â€œIf we do not feel grateful for what we already have, what makes us think weâ€™d beÂ happy withÂ more?â€ â€” Unknown
Eco Tip for the Day
For a full list of my eco tips so far click here
It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when Iâ€™m slow