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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

30 Days of Nothing

I'm hesitant to call this a Works-for-me Wednesday, because I'm not sure if in the end, it will "work".

Mary, at Owlhaven, pointed me toward a project by Intent, called 30 Days of Nothing. Here's an excerpt from her description of the project:

"For 30 days, my family will buy nothing except our basic necessities. No clothes or books. No movies, no trips to the ice cream parlor. No paper, or pictures, or magazines. No fancy hair gel or take-and-bake pizza. Lattes? Nope. Nothing except what it takes to live. During that month, I will journal our experiences, and blog my thoughts about poverty and hunger and our response to those issues. I'd like to try and identify with some of the "least" (economically) of the world. We will try and live without electricity for a day; eat only rice for a day. Perhaps the family will sleep together in one room for a night - on the floor; or walk six miles one day - the distance some African women walk daily to get clean water.

The goal of this month-long fast is to break the grip of materialism in our hearts and minds. We want to live in gratitude, not discontent; and we want to live with awareness of the great responsibility our affluence has laid on our shoulders."

I've talked about this with my husband. I've brainstormed with my son. And I've argued with my daughter. None of us WANTS to do this. But I feel we must -- partly because of the resistance I'm witnessing.

This shouldn't be that big of a deal. It's one month. We keep all the stuff we already have. Mostly, we're boycotting throw-away spending, like the 69-cent Skittles my kids buy at the grocery store. But the conversations we've had so far have revealed our wicked entrenchment in this materialistic world. And maybe our fear of commitment. You'd think I was asking my eldest to live in a cardboard box (which gives me an idea, actually.)

So at this point, what's working for me is to engage in the discussion, even when it becomes heated. I'm answering a lot of "why" questions and opening our eyes to a world that's so remote to us, it can't be understood. I'm keeping our options open to alter the project throughout the month, empowering my kids to suggest ways to "survive" it, trying hard not to be judgemental about our spoiled selves, and letting go of the shopping reins in these last few days before September 1st. I'm hoping that during the month, some kind of light bulb goes on for someone and an ah-ha moment replaces the resentment and eye-rolling I'm getting right now.

And I'm believing that, like I wrote yesterday on Pass the Torch Tuesday, process is more important than product. If we fail miserably at cutting out the materialism, but succeed in having conversations about important and otherwise ignored subjects, then we'll have succeeded after all.

Risks that may result in failures, but that help to discover truths, are worth taking.

Care to join me?

Carnival of the Vanities is up at Lil Duck Duck. After you're through WFM Wednesday-ing, there are great posts there to keep you busy the rest of the day;)

More 30 Days posts:
Day 1
Week 1
Week 2

For more participants in this project, visit Intent.
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  • MMMMmmmmm I may have to go along with this........

    By Blogger Shannon, At 1:20 AM  

  • What a great idea and all the more worthwhile for helping children undestand and empathize.

    By Blogger Trisha, At 1:23 AM  

  • Wow, what a fantastic idea! I'm not sure if I could convince my husband to give up his daily dose of Starbucks, not to mention all the other frivilous spending that we do. I do admire you for having these conversations with your family!

    I’ve posted a WFMW tip as well, involving instructions on creating blogger categories. Stop by and take a peek.

    By Blogger Overwhelmed!, At 1:26 AM  

  • Great idea and thanks for the link ;). We also have WFMW and Wordless Wednesday up too, hee hee. Busy day for the ducks, better go to sleep, eh? ;)

    By Blogger Mama Duck, At 1:50 AM  

  • Wow...that would be some undertaking. I can imagine all the objections if I even suggested it. :) One of the things that helped my older kids in this area was taking mission trips with the church youth group. It's eye-opening to see that people can live without things we think are essential and be happy.

    I'll be interested to read how this turns out.

    By Anonymous Barbara H., At 7:43 AM  

  • I'd be really interesting in reading about how that goes. Don't think I'm as yet strong enough to try it though.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 8:46 AM  

  • Interesting. You are so right, it's easy to make our material possessions our idols, when they are truly nothing more than possessions. I pray this accomplishes what you want it to!

    By Blogger Heather Smith, At 9:50 AM  

  • This is a great idea! However, I do know that my family would never agree to it. I would love to hear about your experiences and how it turns out. Maybe you could you journal or blog it daily online. Just a thought! I'm sure it would generate a lot of interested and curious readers!

    I have a WFMW up with an idea on how to preserve your child's school and/or art work.

    By Blogger AnIowaMom, At 10:10 AM  

  • Very honorable way to relate to those less fortunate. Have you thought about donating they extra income to those you're trying to mirror?

    By Blogger GranolaGirl12, At 10:29 AM  

  • I think this is a marvelous idea! I would love to do this in my own home; but I doubt my husband will back me. He's worse than the kids really. I've been reading this book & it hit me; we don't just provide for our kids; we've been pampering them & I'd like to find a way to change it. Only it's me against 4 so I have no idea how to make changes. I'm going to check in & see how it goes.

    By Blogger PixiePincessMom, At 10:53 AM  

  • I, too, love the idea, but seeing as how we have foregone most of it in leu of paying bills already, I have changed it to reminding our children that we are ultimately blessed and never should we complain about a thing - not about food, not about chores, not about toys, Not. A. Thing. We are following it up with examples of others who go without. Perspective is a great thing to grasp. (God is probably just shaking his head at all the grumbling that can occur at our house. We hope to show and model a happy heart through any and all circumstances.)

    Blessings to your family for setting things in a great perspective.

    By Blogger Shalee, At 11:28 AM  

  • I like this idea. May need to pick another month though as we have birthdays in Sept. and I'm not I could talk my 14 year old daughter into giving up her birthday celebration. But Pastormac and I are discussing this.

    Can't wait to hear your reflections as you make your way throught the month.

    By Blogger PastorMac's Ann, At 12:20 PM  

  • Great idea. What will happen when the 30 days is over? Denied of buying for a month, will you subconciously correct and return to your former spending ways? A post-30 report would also be nice!

    By Anonymous DivaP, At 1:34 PM  

  • Wow--great idea. I won't be doing it, but it will be interesting to think about.

    By Blogger Jennifer, At 3:19 PM  

  • Husband and I have also been discussing this. My children, wonderful though they are, are not entirely appreciative. It's that old thing where we can give them more than we had, but they don't know what they have.

    We have not come to a decision yet, but I think this is such an intriguing idea and worth discussion.

    By Blogger Chilihead2, At 5:18 PM  

  • I like how you said you are mostly boycotting throw-away spending. While I don't spend a lot "frivolously," I do spend some. This 30 is going to be an eye opener for me.

    By Blogger Susan, At 11:53 AM  

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