Easter is coming up quickly. The smell of chocolate and hot cross buns is filling up stores and homes. The buzz is building. But why?
I have recently been baffled by the concept of gifting around Easter, Christmas and all other occasions. The fact that we often spend almost equal amounts of money on one another to get gifts that we stuff into the remaining space in our homes. 99.99% of the time we don’t even need it. I say “need”, not “want”. Why have we been cornered into running this script, EACH AND EVERY YEAR?
When the world is so choked up with discarded stuff why do we keep reinforcing the culture of giving useless things to one another around these times? Can we evolve to a point where just having each others company is enough, where presence is enough of a present? Or if we have to give, can we give to those who really need it on behalf of someone else. It will be like gifting kindness on their behalf.
I was reflecting on my own Christmas experience this year. I was taking care of my niece and nephew for a day leading up to Christmas. They were telling me about their never ending list of gift ideas. I told them that this Christmas I wasn’t going to buy gifts and sweets for them, that instead I was going to buy food seeds and trees for a village in Africa (www.community-classrooms.org/gifts) on their behalf. I explained why, stating that we have so much around us here and some people don’t even have enough to eat this Christmas.
A few minutes passed and my niece Elle said “Yes, good idea Auntie Katie. Those people need it more than me”. I was so proud of her kindhearted understanding. At the same time I saw my little nephew in the rear view mirror. His little bottom lip dropped and he cast a sad look out of the window. “What is wrong Liam?” I said. His reply, “I want presents and sweets Auntie Katie”.
I was stuck for words. I did my best to reiterate why it is so important to have less stuff so more people could live a happier and healthier life. I said “Liam, would you rather have one toy or let heaps of people have food for a long time?” In his innocence he said “I want a toy!”. He wasn’t budging. My heart broke a little bit. Was this just the way things are going to be? How was I going to make the world a better place if I couldn’t even influence a 5 year old.
Then one day my sister said, “Katie, guess what Liam did the other day. He was pulling out all of his toys from the toy box going through them one by one. I asked him what we was doing and he said he was going through the toys he didn’t need any more so the poor kids could be happy”. Goosebumps! I had planted a seed and it had germinated.
This blog is about just that. If we keep reshaping our social fabric through gentle and educational conversations, if we keep doing things differently instead of running the same old dysfunctional script then we prep the social soil for the seeds of change to germinate. It is again up to us, the every day person, to be holding this space. The more we talk, the more we act, the more WE change the faster the world will heal and the closer we will become to one another and our world.
Through kind words and intentional living let’s move forward. One day at a time. We can hand loom a new social fabric with positivity and love so together we can be empowered to be the change and inspire change in others. The old social fabric will dissolve back into nothingness soon enough.