Five Reasons to Simplify Life in Your Family

by Susan Vogt

Crowded time is not good for the spirit.

Consider the frenetic life many of us lead. We may thrive on it for a while, but eventually it takes a toll not only on our health but also on our family time and on our spirit.

Too many possessions can make more work or make us lazy.

This may seem like a contradiction because much of modern technology is meant to free us of repetitive or menial tasks so that we can be more productive. Surely automatic washers and dryers free up a day that might be devoted to interaction with children. Computers speed up communication and maximize the number of people we can be in touch with. But do you find yourself washing clothes more often or getting more junk e-mail and spending more time on the Internet just because it's so easy?

On the other hand, if children have all kinds of stimulating electronic games and gadgets to occupy their free time, will they think to take a hike or create a neighborhood play?

Waiting, longing, and working for something increases appreciation.

Even if we can afford many toys or lavish vacations, we do our children a disservice if we provide too much. It may make us feel better for not spending time with them, but it takes away their need to stretch, to delay gratification, to savor what they have and long for something else. A toy or experience that has been “longed for” is much more appreciated. Ungrateful children usually have too much stuff.

Consuming less is a small step toward a more just world.

It just doesn't seem right that some people on our earth have much more than they need while others lack the basic necessities. Can one person living more simply make a difference? Not much. Can a family influence a society to reduce consumption so that others can have a little more? In time, step by step, yes. That is what Raising Kids Who Will Make A Difference is all about—making our world a better place to live for all, through the actions of those who care, starting at home. The increasing gap between the rich and the poor just is not fair.

Consuming less is good for our planet.

Even if we could provide for everyone on earth to enjoy a typical North American lifestyle, would that be desirable? Besides being unattainable, it couldn't last. Everyone would be equal, but if every family in the world owned two cars, had an air conditioned home with typical appliances and computers, used disposable products to the extent that we do, and matched our present level of energy consumption, the resulting pollution would strangle the earth. Realistically, most of us are not going to make drastic changes in our lifestyle, but reducing unnecessary consumption can at least clear our minds and reduce the strain on air, land, and water resources.

Susan Vogt

Susan Vogt

Susan Vogt is a speaker, author of five books, and former editor of the Journal of the National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministers.

See More