I was examining the extortionately priced Easter eggs looking for Easter gifts. But when I looked at the way they’re packaged in relation to the amount of chocolate in them it wasn’t just a question of budget that made me recoil in disgust. It’s also the amount of destruction to the earth that’s gone into producing them and the amount of waste there’ll be as a result. All to express what? Respect for religious beliefs? A little love? Celebration of the season?
How conditioned we become to the lure of clever commercialism. Like most other people, I wanted to provide loved ones with something truly lavish. But budget wouldn’t stretch to luxurious eggs and anyway I’m not sure that I would want to perpetuate the myth that it’s necessary to buy into all that just to show someone a bit of appreciation.
So what could I give instead? Time maybe? Definitely affection? What is it we truly value?
I value warmth and interconnectedness. I value family and home and purposeful work. I value the earth; its wonderful cycles and seasons and the resources it gives us. I value love most of all.
You just can’t package those things.
It’s hard to maintain focus on the things you truly love when the culture in which we live attaches most of its importance to the price of the things we buy and the pretty way they’re wrapped.
Our children only spent a small time in school but already perceived a sense of judgement being made about them through things like – how many sweets you got in your lunch box, how big a present you got at Christmas, the wretched party bags and how big your Easter egg was.
I was so glad that through home educating we had a better opportunity, not to necessarily decry things that others value – and it’s fine to be buying expensive gifts, but to keep them in the perspective of what we truly valued as a family outside of those powerful commercial and conditioned influences. To actually examine and discuss what really was of value to us; love, appreciation of family, responsibility towards the natural world and the waste we create, our opportunity to be together. Our time and attention to our values being the most important thing of all.
It’s a good exercise as a family to be examining what’s truly of value to you and being together much of the time gives a good opportunity to discuss it – even when your mouth’s full of chocolate!