I am reading this book right now. It is called "You Can Never Get Enough Of What You Don't Need: The Quest for Contentment". I bought it at Time Out for Women because it is written by one of my favorite speakers, Mary Ellen Edmunds. I have always thought of myself as a pretty content person. I don't think I compare myself to others too much. I have never cared about having the biggest, nicest house on the street or the newest , most expensive car in the carpool line. I am not very competitive, either. BUT, I have really been given some things to think about from this book. Here are a few:
1. She suggests being conscientious of magazines and tv where the world can influence us too much. I wondered, could she be talking about any of the 7 magazines that currently come in my mailbox every month? Probably not when it comes to the New Era, Ensign, or Friend but maybe on some of the others. None of them are BAD. However, they do provide pictures; that idealize women with perfectly proportioned bodies, amazingly organized closets, rooms and homes that look like they have been decorated by professionals (and probably have) etc.. She is right. I am perfectly content with my 5 year old suburban. I love that car because it is reliable and accomodates my entire family. We have had some great memories in that car. But, when I look at ads for brand new cars it makes me feel not- so- content. For awhile anyway. (Then I go to pay bills and am grateful I don't have to write out a check to anyone for it because it is paid for!) She suggests that if we go for a period of time and try to avoid these things and then evaluate, we might feel more content. That is definitely an area where I can do better.
2. She warns: Be careful not use the words "need" and "want" interchangebly. They are not synonyms. If my kids hear me using them like synonyms, they will grow up thinking they are the same and getting needs and wants confused. They are so different! Today, for instance, one of my kids said "Mom, I need money for field day for treats". (Apparantly they sell popcorn, popsicles, gatorade, as a fundraiser for the student council during field day.) I asked, "Do you want money or need money for field day treats?" She decided what amount would be adequate and then she realized that since it was a want she would pay for it out of her own money. Mom and Dad provide money for needs like lunch money.
3. Keep a gratitude journal and write things down each day theat bring you joy. Real joy. We will probably be suprised that the best things in life are, indeed, free.
At the end of each chapter she has suggestions for fhe discussions and lessons to use with our kids.
I am so grateful for the feeling of contentness that I feel. I hope I can really apply some of the principles in my life so I can feel it even more and do a better job of helping my children grow up to feel it too.
Any of you out there have any thoughts to share? What influences or helps you?