Friday, November 20, 2009

What He Said.

One of the bloggers I follow is J.D. at Get Rich Slowly.  His overall aim is building personal wealth, which is nice, but not in my 12-month plan.  I do like his philosophy of frugality, though, and I use it to remind myself that it's not a ridiculous concept.

The post I linked resonated with me.  Annie and I are lucky, because we live in a community and have personal community that supports and embraces simplicity.  Still, I felt bad for this guy who is swimming upstream against a river of want.  I responded, and am posting the response below, not because it's a great comment but because it's really how I feel.  And, I don't want to have to write real twice. 

Ditto to all this.  We shut off our satellite and gave our TV away years ago.  Before very long, we realized that neither of us wanted nearly as much stuff as we once had.  Rob's co-workers are buying the hype, and their TV-advertising habits just feed the hysteria.  We still watch what we want, but on Hulu or on-demand with the minimum Netflix subscription.  Or we actually wait for the DVD to be released.  Sometimes we read books in the evening, or read to each other.

Because we "live big, spend small," our finances weren't devastated when I was laid off, nor were they crushed when, three years previously, I had decided to work only part-time.  Now, we are both in a position to try something completely new with our lives - live a dream - because we didn't need expensive toys or an oversized house.

I think the hardest part may be the low blows about "depriving" the family;  it would be for me.  Plus, kids always think they'll be happier if they can watch all the TV their eyes can suck in.  SO not true.  Rob should keep in mind that his kids will remember the time they all spent together.  They will grow to be people who know how to be with other people in a satisfying way.  They will have social skills.  They will learn to be happy people, and that's just not something you can buy for a kid.

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Carolyn said...

Amen Sister!

Roxi said...

Heh - thanks! Of course, there were a lot of commenters who thought non-TV-junkies were judging them (I am). Who's more obnoxious than a reformed addict? And, I felt like I needed to respond to a woman who felt judged by her frugal friends every single time she bought something she wanted, didn't need, but could afford.

But, truthfully, there was a time when I couldn't see the problem. If I want it and have the money for it, why shouldn't I buy it? The whole concept of limited global resources was completely foreign to me. Besides the additional stuff I was piling onto my life.

Rick Francis said...

I think it is more valuable if the kids make their own choices. Anyone can make the right choice without any temptation. For example a few days ago my son was watching some TV. I reminded him he could watch TV or do his homework. I also reminded him that he will have to do the homework before going to bed and if he didn't do the homework while I was putting down his sister then we won't have time to play after. He decided to do the homework without any further prompting and that evening we practiced bike riding. He made a good choice and had a lot of fun with his bike!

-Rick Francis

Roxanne said...

I have heard studies that indicate the ability to delay gratification is a good predictor of future success. Good sign for your little guy.

When I was raising my son, he would occasionally bring home some bad report; my response to that was usually to ban TV for a time. During those times, he would do his homework, exercise his creativity, and generally do things that, to me, seemed healthier all around. After he would improve his school situation, I would genrally lift the ban (d'oh!), and he would return to his old patterns.

I eat a lot fewer caramels with none in the house. Is not buying them the wrong tactic?

Looking back, I wish I had eliminated the television sooner. Different strokes. Glad your choices are working well for your family.


dirtyduck said...

oh you have some really great responses here, i loved reading everybodys opinion...especialy since my own opinion is maybe on the fence?

Roxanne said...

I know what you mean. And, I may have given the impression that I think TV is poo, which isn't true. We watch televion via Netflix and Hulu - maybe too much! And, when I have unlimited TV, holy cow. I have no control.

I do still think that our "wants" went down dramatically when we stopped watching network TV. And that was a huge step toward embracing simplicity as opposed to embracing "I wonder if I can work more hours to buy that." Sure, people can resist the lure of advertising, but why should we have to fight just when we want to let our guard down and veg?

Roxanne said...

Great Scot, man! I need stronger readers. That's two typo's I've let slide by.

Shana said...

There are some wonderful children's shows on TV that really encourage reading and social skills, (empathy, manners, etc), and sometimes it is just great to distract Ulric while I accomplish something like an uninterrupted shower. Unfortuantely, the comercials that he sees are already affecting his thought process- he immediately gets the "I want(s)" and the "Mommy can I get that(s)"... Not the attitude we want to foster. Can't wait for the temps to be normal again so I can get him outside! (-30 is impossible!)

Roxi said...

That kind of show on non-commercial TV is the best.