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We waste a lot of resources by buying our kids all that they ask for - if we say no, we don't become miserly. This is minimalist parenting, our bit towards saving the environment.
We waste a lot of resources by buying our kids all that they ask for – if we say no, we don’t become miserly. This is minimalist parenting, our bit towards saving the environment.
There is quite a difference between being miserly and being minimalist. While the former might not meet your needs, the latter, however, ensures that you do not miss out the essentials. This difference plays a significant part in parenting. A minimalist parent ensures the child’s needs as well as happiness by editing the unnecessary out of the list.
I remember when my younger child had asked for a wristwatch two years ago. I knew that she was too young then to understand how to tell time. She protested a lot when I did not give in to her demand. Sometimes we even felt embarrassed when she cried in public. But I was adamant. I wasn’t a miserly parent in this case, because I felt that her need was temporary. She had seen a few friends wearing wristwatches and wanted to do the same.
I waited for another two years and bought her a watch. By this time, she had learnt how to use it and tell the time. It wasn’t about imitating her friends or putting up appearances.
Minimalist parenting might come across as a traditional and old school of thought, where parents did not buy unnecessary luxuries. Their limited exposure and income restricted their spending capacity.
However, cultural changes brought about more exposure, where children today want and need more. And with an increase in our collective spending capacity, no matter how much we buy, it always seems less.
I believe in old-school parenting where children were being taught to be minimalistic. To buy what is most needed, while the rest can be shared, saved or borrowed.
But how can one be a minimalist parent without having your children think of you as miserly? The strategy of the half-filled glass has been of help to me.
Whenever my children ask for water, I always fill their glass half. The reason for this is to teach them to take what they need. They can always refill it if they need more.
A full glass is more likely to be wasted. The same goes for food.
We don’t fill up our plates, irrespective of how much we can actually eat, do we?
I realised this a few weeks ago when I was preparing my kids for a new school session. I noticed that their cupboards were inundated with unwanted things – colours, pencil boxes, and accessories, which were lying unused.
I learnt that we don’t value things when they are abundant. And won’t do so until the need arises. And as parents, we often fulfil every wish before it becomes a need.
Close the tap to avoid water wastage while they brush, switching off lights when not in use, and other mundane things. How can someone replace these natural resources? I find that we waste more than we use, and find it alarming. And I hope for my children to value things, whether man-made or natural.
So I’ve stopped buying all that they ask me for. I buy only what is most needed then. When two pencils are enough, why give them 50?
Minimalism is not as obsolete as we think, as many developed countries are adopting this philosophy and way of life. Fewer options present an efficient and simpler way of life. Your mind will not fickle on a barrage of options, and ultimately you will save time, money and energy.
A version of this was first published here.
Image source: shutterstock
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Rajshri Deshpande, who played the fiery protagonist in Trial by Fire along with Abhay Deol speaks of her journey and her social work.
Rajshri Deshpande as the protagonist in ‘Trial by Fire’, the recent Netflix show has received raving reviews along with the show itself for its sensitive portrayal of the Uphaar Cinema Hall fire tragedy, 1997 and its aftermath.
The limited series is based on the book by the same name written by Neelam and Shekhar Krishnamoorthy, who lost both their children in the tragedy. We got an opportunity to interview Rajshri Deshpande who played Neelam Krishnamoorthy, the woman who has been relentlessly crusading in the court for holding the owners responsible for the sheer negligence.
Rajshri Deshpande is more than an actor. She is also a social warrior, the rare celebrity from the film industry who has also gone back to her roots to give to poverty struck farming villages in her native Marathwada, with her NGO Nabhangan Foundation. Of course a chance to speak with her one on one was a must!
“What is a woman’s job, Ramesh? Taking care of parents-in-law, husband, children, home and things at work—all at the same time? She isn’t God or a superhuman."
The arrays of workstations were occupied by people peering into their computer screens. The clicks of keyboard keys were punctuated by the occasional footsteps moving around to brainstorm or collaborate with colleagues in their cubicles. Most employees went about their tasks without looking at the person seated on either side of their workstation. Meenakshi was one of them.
The thirty-one-year-old marketing manager in a leading eCommerce company in India sat straight in her seat, her eyes on the screen, her fingers punching furiously into the keys. She was in a flow and wanted to finish the report while the thoughts and words were coming effortlessly into her mind.
Natu-Natu. The mellifluous ringtone interrupted her thoughts. She frowned at her mobile phone with half a mind to keep it ringing until she noticed the caller’s name on the screen, making her pick up the phone immediately.
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