Creators or Consumers?
One of the conflicts Christian families face in our culture is consuming vs. creating. Our culture invites and pushes us and our children to buy…to consume…to throw away….to buy again. Our God invites us to share in creating…in saving…in enjoying what we have. How can we teach our children to be creators and not simply consumers? Here are some ideas:
Create! Create a terrarium or an aquarium. Re-purpose something that could be thrown away into a usable object or a work of art. Recycle. Create with play-doh or with blocks. During the creative process, talk about the joy that comes from creating and how when we create, we are showing we were made to be like God. Read Genesis 1 and marvel at all God created from nothing and at his joy in everything he created.
Talk openly about marketing strategies that advertising uses to lure us into wanting to buy. Notice commercials—what strategy are they using to get us to buy something? Is the product’s name or company being repeated? Count the times and laugh together. Is the commercial making claims that if you own the product, you will be popular? Be like a famous person or athlete? Be part of the “in” crowd? Listen for “claims” that can’t be proven. Notice hyped up words (also called “weasel words”). Be intentional in noticing, in commenting, in teaching even young children what marketing strategies are and how they are used on us.
Were we made to consume or to create? It’s difficult to mindlessly create, but it’s easy to mindlessly consume. Demonstrating the joy of creating and noticing the push to consume will help our children obtain the skills to choose wisely both creating and consuming.