I read an amazing blog post on Intent – 30 Days of Nothing. Go read it if you haven’t yet. Her experiment appeals to me, partly because of my time in Ethiopia. While there, I was humbled by the poverty I saw. One of the most indelible images in my mind was of Flip Flop Girl. It is hard for me to imagine being so poor that I could not buy my child a pair of $2 flip flops.
My husband and I want our children to grow up thinking of others, not enslaved by the materialistic culture we live in. But that’s a tall order, made even tougher by the fact that we are not free of it ourselves.
I blogged recently, amazed that Oprah magazine talked about spending $5000 on a fall wardrobe. But guess what? The other day I wandered into Gymboree ‘just for fun’ (yeah, right..) and left $80 poorer. If you compare my income to Oprah’s, guess what? Proportionally I probably splurged bigger than she did.
Now, don’t misunderstand me. My intent here is not to be all holy and pious. I don’t feel jealousy or anger towards people who can afford $5000 for clothing. And I am not trying to prescribe what YOU do with YOUR money. That is between you and God.
What I really wonder is, how free am I from materialism? How tough would it be for me to not buy an item of clothing, or a McDonald’s burger, or a new hair doodad, or, heaven help me, a BOOK, for a month? (Me and Amazon are TIGHT, baby!)
If we chose to give this experiment a go, how much money would we have for something worthwhile? Our adoption agency has a child sponsorship program for children in Ethiopia that is $15 a month. This helps a family keep their children, helps the children stay in school, helps the children get the health care they need. $15 a month.
John and I are not sure to what degree we can participate in this experiment, but we are giving it some serious thought. For our children. For ourselves. And maybe even for some child somewhere else.