Thoughts on Simplicity Parenting
“I’m so busy!” has replaced “Fine, How are you?” as the most common way people respond to the question “How are you?” Everyone bemoans their frantic schedules, their lack of time to relax, or
to even complete a thought. But recently I’ve been thinking about a little formula that seems increasingly true, and important to me, as a parent.
Do you want to give your child the gift of time?
Clean out their room!
If that seems arbitrary, think again. I recently wrote a book, with counselor Kim John Payne, called Simplicity Parenting. It is about the “too much” that surrounds children today: too much stuff, information, too many choices, and things to do. It is about how when you simplify a child’s environment (that room! that toy pile!) and daily life, they relax; their focus deepens. The book gives plenty of inspiration, and practical ideas for how to strip away the unnecessary, distracting, and overwhelming elements that scatter our children’s attention and burden their spirits.
Here’s more, excerpted from the book’s introduction:
“In every aspect of our lives, no matter how trivial, we are confronted with a dizzying array of things (stuff) and choices. The weighing of dozens of brands, features, claims, sizes and prices, together with the memory scan we do for any warnings or concerns we may have heard; all of this enters into scores of daily decisions. Too much stuff and too many choices. If we’re overwhelmed as adults, imagine how our children feel! Whichever came first—too many choices or too much stuff—the end result of both is not happiness. Contrary to everything advertising tells us (but obvious to anyone who has chosen a cellular calling plan): too many choices can be overwhelming. Another form of stress. Not only can it eat away at our time, studies show that having lots of choices can erode our motivation and well-being.
If, as a society, we are embracing speed, it is partially because we are swimming in anxiety. Fed this concern and that worry, we’re running as fast as we can to avoid problems and sidestep danger. We address parenting with the same anxious gaze, rushing from this ‘enrichment opportunity’ to that, sensing hidden germs and new hazards; all while doing our level best to provide our children with every advantage now known or soon to be invented.”
What I learned, and what I hope we convey in the book, is that there are many things we can do as parents to give our kids the space and the grace they need to develop–into themselves—not just into consumers, or mini-adults. And when we simplify our children’s daily lives—making room for moments of “being” in the mad torrent of “doing”—our lives expand as well.
I also learned that, like any work of art, families need inspiration; fresh infusions of hope and imagination. I sincerely hope Simplicity Parenting provides a little “boost” of inspiration to the parents who read it.
If you read Simplicity Parenting, and have any thoughts or comments I’d be happy to hear from you. You can e-mail me here at email@example.com
By Lisa M. Ross