Slow Saturdays – Explaining Simplicity

Slow Saturdays is a weekly challenge related to slow parenting. The challenges are intended to break down a large project into smaller, more manageable pieces. Try it for yourself. You are, as always, encouraged to post comments. Tell us your story!

This week’s challenge is inspired by the Bear. Her birthday is quickly approaching and, since we went overboard last year, we are very cognizant of simplifying things this year. One of the ways we are cutting back is by throwing a toonie party (for the international readers, this is our two dollar coin). The five friends that she has invited to her birthday party have been asked to bring a toonie for the birthday girl – no presents. The Bear will then be able to take her money (and probably a little extra from Mom and Dad) to buy one gift.

This past week, the Bear told me that she doesn’t want a toonie birthday party. She said that she would really rather have presents from all her friends. I found myself stumped with how to explain the reason behind the decision. This surprised me. I steered into territory that was way beyond her years (labour issues, landfills, etc.). And my attempt to tell her she would actually be happier with less toys didn’t seem to make the right impact! I still think she doesn’t really understand the value of having less stuff.

The challenge – this week, explain to your child(ren) or teens about the value of having less things in your home. There might be a good opportunity when you are out shopping and they ask for something. (Or if you have babes or don’t have children, try to explain your efforts to others in your life). The challenge is in the explanation. How do you explain the concept of downsizing?

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3 Responses to “Slow Saturdays – Explaining Simplicity”


  1. 1 Personal Development Business Opportunity App March 26, 2013 at 4:35 pm

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  2. 2 Pamella January 22, 2011 at 8:22 am

    This is a great article. I guess the challenge is to shift the focus from “stuff” to “substance”. No sure that is the right word. Yesterday, Sameh and I were out and about. Our chores took us away from our usual routine which includes eating all our meals at home. First, to ensure healthy quality, second, to save money. Yesterday though we went out for lunch. We felt ok about this because we no longer spend our money on eating out. It was a nice treat, but it certainly lacked the quality that we have come to love from eating at home. Things like: cooking, sitting down to a meal, talking, enjoying our food in the privacy of our own home, and then the clean up with the tea that we always have after.

    It’s hard to break the habit of the thrill of getting new things. I can certainly break the habit of spending the money though.

    But you are right, how do we explain this to children who are constantly bombarded with images and ideals of stuff. From TV commercials (if they watch tv) to the influence of their peers which I am sure is the tricky part.

    I know that the Bear will totally understand this when she gets a bit older, but how do we guide our children in the right direction without them resenting the decisions we make for them?

    I think we all need to visit/experience a developing country! It certainly puts things into perspective!

    • 3 Mama Tortoise January 25, 2011 at 8:23 am

      THanks for your story, Pamella. I think that explaining “substance” over “stuff” (I like that) is just as difficult to explain to adults as kids. We are taught that our identity is largely projected by our stuff.


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