Recycle, Reduce, Reuse... Rethink?

Many people who care about creation are into the three R's. Recycle, reduce, reuse. But I find I've had to concentrate on a fourth one... "rethink."

Mostly, I realize that much of my thinking has been molded by advertising and societal views of what is cool, fulfilling, and rewarding. This affects even the simplest areas of life.

Take food, for example. My TV shows a woman using Hamburger Helper (food in a box, which is not good for my family, and is also a source of consumer waste). This woman is smiling because she has made her family happy (so says the commercial). And all this, without stooping to the indignity of creating a meal from scratch (or perhaps wasting "precious" time).

It is a strong message: you can make your family happy without degrading yourself, or without effort.

Is it true? Will food in a box make my family happy and healthy? Have I escaped some kind of drudge work that would suggest I'm less-than-important if I did the work? I'm not saying that I never cook anything out of a box, but I've had to rethink... what is it that truly brings health, happiness, and meaning? Is life really like the commercials say?

If life is not like the commercials say, then maybe convenience is not a primary value, nor effortlessness, nor throwing away the old for the new, nor buying the new to create happiness. And maybe my role in my family is not entertainer, but Guide and Mentor and Nurturer.

Photo by Gail Nadeau. Used with permission.

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Blogger Christianne said...

Those are powerful thoughts. Thank you for saying them...and thinking them...and living them.

6:46 PM  
Blogger Marcia said...

Good entry... I knew a woman who went home from work and cooked a 'real' dinner every night for her family, I always admired her taking the time.

10:06 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Christianne... Thank you. I love to share these kinds of ideas. Life is such a journey! I wonder how you might apply such thoughts in your life with Kirk?

Marcia... thanks for stopping by. Great example...Yes, that's what I like to call "grace at the table." For true grace takes effort, time, and sacrifice...

10:11 PM  
Blogger Llama Momma said...

So true. I'm amazed that people are "amazed" at a home-cooked meal, as if cooking from scratch is some rare, exotic gift!

3:00 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Llama.. you make me laugh!

3:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been learning this same thing in terms of creation care and concern for the environment. The most important step is how I think about these things.

Your observations are keen about advertising's not so subtle message that household tasks like cooking from scratch are demeaning. Wendell Berry addresses the tasks of husbandry and housewifery in a very sensitive and thoughtful way in one of his essays in The Unsettling of America.

5:33 PM  
Blogger Green Earth said...

I just love that rethink bit added.

It is the real bit we all need to add to the equation.

Keep on with your inspired thinking, best wishes, The Artist

4:21 AM  
Blogger Haddock said...

Unfortunately TV adverts slowly brainwash everyone with false values.

9:36 AM  
Blogger Andrea said...

Amen, sister!
Anything worth doing is usually not easy or "quick".

10:40 AM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Charity... yes, I thought of you and your post on taking care of things being a central issue for stewardship. I enjoy being on this journey with you! (and Wendell).

Green Earth... yes, I suppose that if we don't rethink we never get to the true heart of things.

Haddock... so, goodbye TV?

Andrea... What amazes me is how many areas we settle for less in, simply because of the emphasis on "quick & easy."

4:24 PM  
Blogger kirsten said...

Hello L.L.! Christianne recommended that I stop by & visit your blog.

I particularly appreciate the challenge to rethink. I do my best to live my life consciously, but a light bulb went off in my mind when you wrote about rethinking the values by which we govern our lives.

Thanks for sharing! I look forward to future posts.

8:56 AM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Kirsten... yes, it's really the values that influence all else, I think. And the question is, who is steering our values? And are we okay with that?

4:42 PM  

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