Apr 9, 2014

Keeping it Simple

As I once heard someone say, never travel first class unless you will always travel first class!
Why? Because it is so marvelous in first class, that going back to no-frills class will be especially miserable.

R' Orloweck, in a talk about achieving peace of mind, referred to a "pleasure meter."  If a person hits a 10 with a gourmet meal served on fine china, while another person is happy with toast, butter and hot cocoa, who is more fortunate? The second fellow, because he is much more likely to experience lots of pleasure in life.

We, frum society, have been upping the standards.  Day camp activities used to be dodge ball, swimming, and popsicle sticks arts-and-crafts.  These days, the camping experience is so much more sophisticated.  Little children, who would be happy with simple activities, are introduced to fancy projects so that they can't go back to simple.  That would be boring.

The reason may be competition for campers but the campers end up losing out because they don't learn the pleasures or the reality of plain and normal.  Like the kids who get ices (or fill in the blank) on a regular weekday and are not trained that special treats are for Shabbos.

In an article by Miriam Gitlin about pashtus-living a simple life, being satisfied with basics without needing more, she told about a chinuch dilemma she had.  She had never given her children ices.  Then, one year, they started bringing them home from school parties and other occasions.  They asked if she would buy them.  She wasn't sure.  She liked the idea of making them happy but something bothered her about it.

When she discussed it with her husband, he verbalized what she was thinking.  Buying the ices wouldn't make the children happier in the long run.  It would make them unhappier.  Why? Because it would turn into something her children needed, and when they didn't have it, they would feel they were missing out.

But maybe not.  Maybe her kids would get tired of them. 

She adds the point that kids need to fit in and can't be made to feel inferior to their peers, so instilling your values has to be done with a degree of caution and good sense.

Even striving for simplicity isn't simple.

1 comment:

  1. The economy is lousy now so I think that all of this hyper materialism will change because fewer people have the means to do it. I doubt that my children will give their children all the excess garbage that they were raised with because it was needed to fit in; not anymore.