People overestimate the pleasure they'll get from having more stuff. This does not apply to new rose bushes, crayons, or yarn stashes. — Dr. Sun Wolf
IN TODAY'S SESSION... we learned about the 5 Rs: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot. We heard the story "Enough Stuff," which introduced the idea of a no-presents birthday party—a concrete way to live the first R, "Refuse." We did a Recycle Relay, imagined a birthday party we might want to have, and made binoculars from recycled materials (a great idea for a birthday party activity!).
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about... what is "enough stuff?" How does your family celebrate birthdays? What changes could you make? What about a "no-presents" birthday party? Check out "Birthdays without Pressure" on the website of the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Nebraska for family discussion questions and more.
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER... Take a tour of your home to look for evidence of the 5 Rs. Talk about ways to include more of these practices in your everyday lives at home, school, or work. Look at the blog Zero Waste Home. Is this something your family might try?
A Family Adventure. Invite your neighbors to participate and host a community "swap," perhaps at your congregation. Learn about communities that have done this on the Give Your Stuff Away website or from The Center for a New American Dream's "Guide to Sharing."
Family Discovery. Explore the website "Loop Scoops", a project of PBS kids by Annie Leonard, the author of Story of Stuff. Or go to The Story of Stuff website and watch the movie and look at the resources for more ideas.
A Family Game. Talk with your child about special things you can do together that do not require any material items. Play games like tag, hide-and-go-seek; and duck, duck, goose. Point out that these games are simple in that they do not require any special equipment and "green" in that they do not use any of the Earth's resources.
A Family Ritual. Our lives can be very complex. Try a family meditation practice to simplify your days: Gather together for a brief time. Light a candle. If you have a chime or singing bowl, use it and listen together to see how long you can hear the sound. Put on some music with nature sounds or simply sit quietly together. At first, meditate for only a brief period of time, about 1-2 minutes. As time goes on, lengthen that time based on your family's readiness.