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    MilkingMaid's Avatar
    MilkingMaid is offline Winner 2009 - Mod Award - most supportive member
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    Default Wondering how to inject 'meaning' into my kids lives

    Lately I've been feeling at quite a loss about my kids lives, I am raising them in a first world country where they want for nothing on a world scale, yet they are bombarded by all the capitalist 'me, me, me, now now now' of modern marketing, and I see them having more and more of an entitled view of life, and have been wondering what the heck to do about it, short of packing them up, and taking them to a 3rd world country to learn a few truths about life, hardship, and gratitude.

    Anyone else feel like this?

    Anyone have any ideas to help their kids out of the very short sighted view of life being brought up in privilege brings?

    I'm in negotiations to buy 25 acres of farmland, and hope to raise the boys there, and in doing so give them a taste of 'real life' in the process... milking cows, keeping chooks, growing food etc...

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    AM, that's wonderful that you want to do this for your kids.

    If family finances permit, would you consider sponsoring a child from a 3rd world country? Having contact with a child, getting letters and photos about their lifestyle, not to mention the friendships gained, might be a good way for your kids to connect at a child's level?

    I'm due to have my first in a few weeks, and already have been wondering similar thoughts. I don't want to raise a generation of me-me-me.

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    futureherder is offline Child led parent here...save me :)
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    Moving on to a farm well do it!

    I suppose I always try to explain things to DD but I find kids generally have the right idea to begin with. For example DD was asking where fire trucks come from, where the tents came from (we were at a festival) where the rides came from, generally I kept having to save the were made in factories from materials etc anyway she corrected me and said 'they come from dreams mummy, from dreams'

    It's hard not to spoil them but it is so important to teach them the worth of what they get, whether it be someone eles or mine or the earth resources.

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    I'm reading this quite interesting book at the moment called "The self esteem trap" and it talks about how the baby boomers decided that it was really important to raise their childrens self esteem, and so went about creating a generation that all felt 'special' which actually back fired quite badly, as kids in the late 60's and 70's were all told they were special, and to reach for the stars and be the best etc, and of course not everyone can be the best, so it actually caused a huge lot of angst, and many of these kids actually became quite depressed.

    "Born after self-focus entered the cultural main******, this generation has never known a world that puts duty before self"

    "This generation is dubbed Gen-Me"

    "GenMe'ers have heard that they are unique individuals with talents and strengths of their own : Their 'special' GenMe'ers often feel that the 'opportunities' supposedly open to them are in fact demands to be creative and successful in extrordinary ways. While on the surface it may seem that greater advantages should automatically translate into increased self confidance and autonomy, sadly the opposite often occurs"

    This book actually advocates that we begin to find a new center: in being ordinary.

    "Gradually as we grow and develop, we come to recognise that our lives do not belong just to us, to do what we please.Throughout our lives, especially in childhood, we are sustained and cared for by countless others. Giving back the gifts we've been given - to people and other beings - is the clear path to happiness and self respect. Ordinariness is rooted in a wisdom about our human condition and a knowledgeof how we are all connected, always making use of one another. Basing our lives on the importance of being ordinary - a member as well as a leader, dependant as well as dependable, and compassionate about the demands that life makes on all of us - is a whole new approach to self confidance."

    It seems to me that the author is kind of saying that the recent child rearing has all been about trying to make everyone a 'leader' or a 'winner' or 'the best' and it has just created a lot of selfish competitive people, who are always thinking 'what's in it for me?' rather than a more co-operative approach, where people are thinking of others as well as themselves, looking at the bigger picture, empathy. More along the lines of 'what's best for the group is best'

    I guess rampant capitalism just feeds this 'one upmanship' as it thrives on everyone competing to have more than everyone else, instead of just what we need, and having to have everything bigger, and better, and newer.

    It's a huge influence to try to defuse.
    Last edited by MilkingMaid; 01-04-2012 at 18:30.

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    futureherder is offline Child led parent here...save me :)
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    He weight of it almost seems immeasurable but we can only do our best. Thank you for taking the time to type that out. It sounds very interesting. I think kids learning to do chores for the better of the family rather then what they will get out of it. Also they do get something out of it thought, a family that works as a team for the better of everyone, a value I think has been lost.

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    Yes - I DO feel like this, every day. Actually, it brought a tear to my eye because I often feel very lonely, as I'm surrounded by very materialistic people.

    DS is only 19 months, so I'm not quite at that stage yet but I absolutely dread it. I want to take him away and hide him from all of that.

    If you come up with any good ideas let me know. Personally, I quite seriously would like to work/volunteer in developing countries at some stage and take DS with me - I have parents who have worked for the UN as a career and have first-hand experience who feel the same way about our society who will be a good influence on DS.

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    For us, its kind of been a case of not always getting their way. We've had to do it tough on more than a few occasions and DS has learnt that money doesnt come from nowhere and you cant always have everything and the biggest and the best. He is still a kid so still obviously asks for things he wants or asks why we cant have xyz, but I just explain to him truthfully why we cant have it or afford it at that time.
    We occasionally go through his toys and donate them or give them away to "kids who dont have any toys". When he asks about things he sees on tv or reads in the newspaper (he loves the newspaper) I try answer him honestly and inform him that not everywhere in the world is the same as here and we are lucky we have this that and the other.
    To me, its not about being a saint and not about being a tight a$$, but just explaining the truth about things in a way they can comprehend at the time.

    Reading this back, I have no idea if this is at all what you were asking for Let me know if its not and I'll delete it all and we'll pretend none of this ever happened

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    For my kids I do try and explain as much as possible to them, I talk about what things cost and what their dad and I do to earn our money. If they want something they need to contribute towards that in some way, for our eldest that means working one afternoon a week or busking, for our youngest it is about doing jobs at home and making choices about what they want the most. We do sponser a child form a third world country but to be honest that is more about me than about 'teaching' my kids. I love looking at world books which show photos of different lifestyles, we get to know people around us from other countries and learn about what their lifestyles at their birth country is like. I think growing your food/chickens etc is awesome as they get to see the process involved and don't just pick up their food from the supermarket. We are also great 're-users' and often look for something second hand and in good condition as opposed to buying something new, I think often has more charector and is more sustainable, I try to instill that you don't always need the latest and greatest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AM View Post
    I'm reading this quite interesting book at the moment called "The self esteem trap" and it talks about how the baby boomers decided that it was really important to raise their childrens self esteem, and so went about creating a generation that all felt 'special' which actually back fired quite badly, as kids in the late 60's and 70's were all told they were special, and to reach for the stars and be the best etc, and of course not everyone can be the best, so it actually caused a huge lot of angst, and many of these kids actually became quite depressed.
    I think the baby-boomer generation were all about being materialistic due to parents living through the depression etc... But the next gen Xers had this whole 'we're gona connect with our kids' thing and the idea that we could be friends with our kids.... but of course the whole parent as disciplinarian thing suffered....

    Anyway, the fact is we live in a society where we're obsessed with coming up with gadgets that make life easier.... and we have this perception that easier is better. but in actual fact it's hard work and hard times that teach us the best life lessons, and this is what the newer generations are missing out on.

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    This is something which has worried me at times, too.

    We do sponsor a child in the Philippines, my kids do chores and help at school working bees and fundraisers (its their school), help other little kids at sporting events, and because there are so many of us, they often wear hand me downs and we only have one TV / Xbox etc when their friends have 1 each!

    But I would still like to be sure I'm instilling in them the desire to help others. I still get the odd whinge when I "volunteer" them for something and some are better than others at offering to help without prompting.

    Living in a country community is helpful as many organisations depend on volunteers and the kids can see immediate fruits of their labour. It is also helpful to be around other adults who commend the kids for helping so that they see that their assistance is appreciated and they receive a self-esteem boost to encourage them to continue.

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