Saturday, April 3, 2010

Experience Consumption

I think I've found the key to my Scrooginess.

Remember how I said I get Scroogey at the holidays anymore? How I've come to dislike the gift-giving aspect of Christmas (and Valentine's, and Easter, and Halloween, for that matter)? How I felt so bad feeling so resentful about all the "stuff" we give and get at that time?

My friend Robin has articulated to me why.

She writes the food blog at Mother Nature Network. ( And she wrote in January about the current trend (because of the recession) for people to start valuing activities more than material possessions. Experiences over stuff. It's called "experience consumption". She's been giving her readers five ideas every month for experiences they can consume rather than stuff.

I've had schooling and education on my mind all week, too. Big picture stuff, like the nature of what makes up a good education. It occurred to me this week that a well-educated person has not only knowledge and skills but an abundance of experiences. Experiences are important.

I've always said I would much rather someone take my kids on an outing than give them a toy. Visit a museum. Go to the theater. Take them to a ball game -- or give them season tickets to a local team. Or better yet, take them to a park and play ball with them.

Or if you must give them "toys", give them items that lead to active experiences -- sports equipment, art supplies, cookbooks, that kind of thing. And preferably real experiences, not vicarious ones. Building a zoo on their Zoo Tycoon computer game is better than other things they could do, but it's still not living real life. (The only exception to this: books. They can live vicariously through books all they want. In my world, they count as real experiences.)

Something I read a while back talked about giving your kids tools rather than toys. Things they can use to develop their God-given gifts. For our girls, that has meant, among other things, art supplies, cameras, costumes . . . and a play stage which is now completely worn out and busted up. A worthy purchase.

Keith and I have become weary of our lazy weekends at home with the girls this bitter cold, snowed-in winter. We're starting to try to look for active things we can do with them on our days off. Experience consumption. Much more meaningful than another stuffed bunny to sit on the shelf.

1 comment:

Vianelli and Eastin said...

You are scroogey! WAAAAAAAAAA