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December Message from Deb Green

A Season of Simplicity

Prior to joining the PIC community I spent nine years working in a Quaker school in Montgomery County.
I had never been in a Quaker community before and I spent much of my time there learning the values of Quakerism and how those values apply to young children and families.
The values such as “community” and “peace” were fairly easy to adopt, but it took me much longer to understand the value of “simplicity” and how it could apply to children and families in today’s world.
To many of us, life is so full of disturbing news and distractions, and so busy that we are sometimes overwhelmed. Our time is often overcommitted, and we are so immersed in a commercial culture that makes us want what we do not need.
While PIC is not a Quaker school, I do believe that valuing simplicity can be helpful in finding balance in our lives.
In the especially commercialized month of December, simplicity might be practiced with children in the following ways:
  • Be hyper-selective when purchasing toys. Stick with classics like wooden blocks, balls, art supplies, and books. These longer-lasting toys mean less purchases, and less purchases mean a less cluttered home. They’ll also more easily last through multiple children!
  • Encourage the right words. Instead of “I want that!” or “I really need one!”, ask your child to simply say, “I like that.” It’s really subtle, but this switch can transform attitudes. This language can help children understand that just because we want something, it doesn’t mean we can have it. It also helps them see that it’s not necessarily wrong to want things – it’s simply a matter of making good choices.
  • Take time to appreciate nature. Take a hike, play in a park, jump in a puddle, play in the snow, plant a garden, climb a tree, use a magnifying glass to find creatures, or find pictures in the clouds. 
  • Do small things to care for the earth. We live in a world where millions of people are born daily and this serves as a reminder to care for the earth today and in the future. Turning off lights and electronic things, recycling, choosing fair trade or thrift stores for shopping, catching rainwater for watering plants, and eating locally-produced foods can all make a difference. 
  • Focus on what’s important and talk about those things with your children. Be it intentionally planned family movie and game nights or weekend outings, visiting grandparents, or engaging in community service with your child, these opportunities allow everyone to breathe and focus on the present. 
On behalf of all of us at PIC, I wish all of our families and friends a season of peace and simplicity.