Gluttony

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Today’s prompt from The Red Dress Club is about gluttony. I’m not looking for constructive criticism, as this post isn’t a literary effort; just my perceptions and things floating around in my head. But I’d still love to hear your thoughts and reactions.

I’m overwhelmed lately by the gluttony and excess all around me: fancy cars, designer clothes and shoes, plastic surgery, giant houses, iPads, iPhones, Kindles, blackberries, pagers, glitzy handbags, jetsetting all over the place. I could go on and on, but I don’t have to because you know. We all know.

Don’t get me wrong–I own a few Kate Spade purses (some are hand-me-downs), I have breast implants and we live in a nice new house. But I’m careful to balance what I have with what others don’t. It’s easy to strike a balance, all you have to do is open your eyes and look around. See the need. Get off your ass and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Take what you have and share it. If you can’t share your money, then share your time, talents, energy, brainpower, love, and random acts of kindness.

Give some granola bars to the homeless man on the corner.

Donate blood.

Donate something else, like your eggs.

Donate to a charity or two, or five. If you can’t donate money, offer to help in another way, like serving on a board or committee or assisting with fundraisers. Volunteer.

Commit to performing random acts of kindness. I promise they will come back to you.

Go green and start treating our planet better. Check out my posts here, here and here for easy ways to get started.

There are numerous other ways to put yourself out there and help those in need. I’m incensed by the inaction, indifference and apathy I see all around me– people who are lazy, selfish, focused only on themselves, what they need/deserve, and who’s paying attention to them. We are adults. It’s time to grow up, take responsibility and think about others. Put yourself on the back burner. Those who aren’t so fortunate do not have that luxury.

What have you done for someone else lately?

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  • http://profiles.google.com/frummiehouse Rebecca Schorr

     A very good reminder that we tend to live lives of excess and avert our eyes from those who struggle for the very basic necessities. 

    One of the recurring conversations I have with the kids is the difference between need vs. want. As in “no, you don’t NEED another Pet Shoppe. You really, really want it.” It’s not semantics. Words have meaning and as future adults, my kids need to know the difference.

    Great post!

    • Anonymous

      Rebecca,

      If you are talking about the Littlest Pet Shoppe toys? OMG. I am guilty of having lots of those….they keep my kids entertained. I need to set more limits. I’ve been great at doing things myself, but need to work harder on teaching my children… thanks for coming by & commenting!

  • http://twitter.com/tsonoda Terri Sonoda

    Amen, sister!   I am a huge proponent of finding ways to help, to be kind and to give a shit.  Random acts of kindness are wonderful and all you need is a little imagination.  You can put a smile on someone’s face with very little effort, but rather with your own special gifts.   Fabulous post.

    • Anonymous

      Terri,

      Thank you! You are a special person—and you are always doing random acts of kindness. Like sending me your book! ps.how was your visit w/ your son & DIL2B? 

  • Heather Ostrom

     I love it and I am in the same world, though I am not nearly as dedicated to your actions as you are … you are amazing. Erin, I love this post. I am disgusted by party favors at kid’s parties … the excess of plastics filling my house. The expectation of gifts when often all we need is a laugh and a hug. I don’t want gifts, I have enough. I just want function not fancy and all while some folks are just trying to survive.  Steve and I have been trying to be more apart of local charities lately and though it’s sometimes hard to squeeze in these items, we know it’s worth it. RE: Gluttony directly – Thinking is one thing, but letting an item consume you to publicly whining about items of excess – really nauseates me. Only my opinion and I’m far from perfect. Just trying to chip away at the bad here and there. ;-) I love reading your posts so I can stop thinking and start doing.  

    • Anonymous

      Heather,
      You give me too much credit, honey. I fully admit to being “plastic” (ahem, literally in some ways, figuratively in others) myself…but trying to balance. Really? I don’t need any more “stuff,” either—all I really want in life? Is to be loved and appreciated. Or does that make me needy?!?! 

  • Christi

    Achingly true.  This sickens me, to be quite honest with you.  We are not financially “comfortable” by any means…we struggle.  However, it is my JOB to ensure that my girls know that, while we may not be able to contribute to the struggle of others monetarily, there are MANY ways that we can contribute to the needs of others in alternate ways. 

    I actually asked my hubs the other day if we are the ONLY people raising our kids this way!  (I’m glad to see that we are not, by the way).  The reason that I asked this is because everywhere I look…down the street, on the playground, at the store, on television…children are becoming self-centered, demanding, uninvolved BRATS.  I know that’s a little harsh…but that’s just the way I’m seeing things.  Not good for the future of humanity, I’m tellin’ ya.  

    • Anonymous

      Christi,

      My kids can be total brats, honestly. And some of that is my fault. I’m not consistent and I do buy them crap they don’t need sometimes. However, they SEE the good things I do and I talk to them constantly about the WHY behind it all. They are only 5, so I know I still have time. But it’s important to teach them. 

  • Phases of Me

    II tried to raise my daughter with this need vs. want mentality. My ex husband married a little money the 2nd time and my daughter became accustomed to having everything she wanted. I tried to discuss the eventual problems this would cause with my ex, but he was too wrapped up in an I’m better than you attitude to see it.

    Fast-forward about 5 years…she left him and took everything with her. Hit him with huge child support payments and he ended up living with his mom. Add a now-spoiled pre-teen and he didn’t know what to do.

    Our daughter is out on her own now, struggling herself. Although she hated me for the “un-spoiling” process at the time, she now appreciates that I helped her see the realities of our world. That there are more of us “have-nots” than people like to admit. It’s a hard world out there & I feel its better to prepare our children for the potential of struggle than for them to end up that way unprepared.

    • Anonymous

      Phases,

      I am far better at all this myself than I am w/ my kids. I’m trying, but they are only 5 (twins) and it’s soooo hard sometimes. But I’m not giving up. Your daughter sounds like she is in great shape, thanks to you!!

  • Anonymous

    excess makes me crazy. as does waste.

    i’ve actually used the ‘starving kids in china’ argument with my kids when they refuse food that i’ve made.

    and?  i don’t know who kate spade is. 

    • Anonymous

      Oh shit, Tulpen. Now I really feel like an ass. Kate Spade designs lucious purses. She isn’t on the high end like Prada/Gucci/Birkin/Chanel, but her stuff is nice. Sigh.You are awesome!! xoxo

  • http://twitter.com/galitbreen Galit Breen

     Poignant and important, Erin! Not a rant, friend. More like a gentle reminder. or a swift kick in the butt. :) I love your words, but what I love more is how you put actions behind them. *That’s* what makes you a role model. Love it, lady! XO

    • Anonymous

      Thank you, Galit. I try. I still think this falls into the “rant” category, though. But yes, definitely a kick in the ass! ;-)
      Thanks for reading & sharing it!
      xoxo 

  • http://twitter.com/AwayWeGoNancy AwayWeGoNancy

    I’ve been really struggling with this recently. I have been in a slump, for lack of a better words.

    I realized I need a new passion, something to cause me to grow and work. And what better way to get over myself than help other people?

    Thanks for the kick in the rear. You always say exactly what I need to hear.

    • Anonymous

      Nancy,

      I’ve been in a slump, too. Trying to distract myself by getting overly involved in misc volunteer projects. Saying yes to too many things. Which is both good & bad!!!
      xoxo 

  • Taming Insanity

    I keep telling David “Alex needs this planet after we’re dead. Let’s keep it nice for him”.

    But, you know, he’s a husband so I can’t tell how much it sinks in.

    • Anonymous

      Taming/KLZ,

      Yeah, unfortunately you can’t always count on husbands for much….especially stuff like this. hee hee 

  • http://twitter.com/DHousemommy Desperate Housemommy

    It helps me to serve alongside my children.  Feed my Starving Children is something we enjoy doing together.  I also try to bring them with me when I’m dropping of donations at local shelters.  We hold each other accountable and learn quite a bit about service from each other. 

    • Anonymous

      Desperate Housemommy,

      That’s a great idea. I should try to do something like that and get my kiddos really involved alongside me. They see me doing things and they’ve come w/ me to drop off donations, etc…but it’ll be different/better to get them doing things where they can be more hands-on. They are only 5, but it’s never too early. 

  • http://profiles.google.com/twonormalmoms Ally Wilson

    Great post, Erin. It makes my heart ache to see it all around us. You are a rock star for putting it out there like you do. Inspiring.

    • Anonymous

      Ally,

      You give me too much credit. I’m no rockstar. If I was, I’d be doing a hell of a lot more. I just get frustrated when I see people who aren’t doing anything—and could be. Grrrr! 

  • Mindy

     I’ve had some great experiences talking to people in our community who moved here from Brazil lately. I know that everything is relative, but it really helped remind me to appreciate what I have now and stop focusing on all the things I want/crave/think are must-haves. The one man talked about growing up happily in poverty – his soccer ball was a sock stuffed with newspaper and he and his brother didn’t have a bike until someone gave them one to share at 15 and 16. They moved to the big city when they were older and were shocked because people rode horses where they lived and the streets were filled with outrageously fancy cars. People were obsessed with labels and they didn’t even know there was such a thing. The other man grew up with a bit more money, but says he doesn’t give money to the poor he sees in America because they have so much compared to the people he saw on a regular basis in Brazil who were in dire need and had no government assistance. I am not sharing this because I don’t believe we shouldn’t help the poor in our country, etc. I do. It just helped provide perspective for me and it reinforced the belief I have that I want my children to appreciate the value of things – and to value the intangibles more than any physical thing. Thanks for the thought-provoking post.

    • Anonymous

      Mindy,

      Wow. Eye-opening indeed. Perspective is something I believe we can all work on and I totally get where you’re coming from. Thank you for sharing your views and ideas here in the comments! 

  • http://twitter.com/juliecgardner Julie Gardner

     You are wonderful. That is all.

    • Anonymous

      Julie,

      YOU are wonderful, sweets. I don’t have a clue. Just trying. ;-)
      xoxox 

  • http://www.bellebeanchicagodog.com/ Liz

     We should help others out and absolutely our earth! that is one type of damage we can’t undo.

    • Anonymous

      Liz.

      Thanks so much! I agree completely! ;-)

  • Stephanie

    I helped an older lady get stuff into her car the other day!  I try to do things for others, it makes you feel good!

    Also, yay boobies lol 

    • Anonymous

      Stephanie,

      You are so right! I always feel better after doing something nice/unexpected for someone else. WOOHOO!
      ;-) 

  • http://twitter.com/Clutteredbrain Alexes Covington

     This is so true. We do have an excess. And We do need to donate and to give to others in need. (I kinda wish I did have an excess right now, but I have enough and really this is all I need.) I don’t need a million dollars to be successful. Success is not necessarily based upon on how wealthy you are. If we give of ourselves to others we will be happier in the long run. Serve others. It’s not about the material possesions or the riches, it’s about us getting us along in this huge world. Serving each other.
      I wish we could stop the wars and just have peace.
    Some things are necessary in life to learn. And if we learn now, that money does not buy happiness we will be a lot better off. Teaching that to our children is another thing. Money will not buy them happiness. Serving others and doing good for other people will bring a joy that money cannot buy.
    Great post Erin! Thanks for the reminder.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you, sweet Alexes!

      You are right. I’m pretty good about this stuff myself, but teaching my kids is another story. I’m constantly trying to impress this upon them, but they’re only 5 and I don’t know how much is truly sinking in. 

  • http://twitter.com/MidwestMomments Jennifer Barr

    This is so true. And I think being in Johnson County, it’s exceptionally bad. I want to move my family to a third world country for a year so they can really understand how privileged we are.

    • Anonymous

      Jennifer,

      You’re right. We’re so insulated in a way. I definitely need to work more with my kids on all of this. We talk a lot about all the things that I do and they SEE it, but…they are only 5 (twins) and we have a lot of work to do. 

  • http://goodgirlgoneredneck.blogspot.com Andrea B.

    I have to confess, I got stuck at the “I have breast implants” line! You do? I had no idea! Not that I would know. I’m so the opposite. I’m wishing for a reduction someday, so I got stuck in my own line of reverse envy. Makes no sense, or maybe it does, but either way – here’s the point. ;) This was a well written post, and I haven’t even followed the links yet. As for me, I always want to do more, but I do volunteer — actually — every single day for the moms’ group I participate in. And the national group, too, so that’s a start. And I encourage people to volunteer and donate, and help them find places to do so with. So that’s my way of giving back – a little bit, anyway – when I can!

    • Anonymous

      Andrea,

      Yes, I have saline implants. Sigh. I got them after the girls were born and we thought we were “done.” I looked like a little boy and did not feel feminine and it showed. I didn’t go overboard, am a small C cup now, but I am tall and big-boned and so now I feel like they fit my body and look natural.

      You are awesome for all of your volunteering on both local and national levels! YAY!!!
      xoxo

  • Anonymous

    Great post, Erin. To be honest, I have also noticed lately how much more materialistic the whole world seems. Or maybe it’s just the US. But songs on the radio about “I want to be a billionaire SO FRICKIN BAD” and shows about fancy cribs and cars and OMG when does the madness end. Why isn’t it good enough to have a roof over our heads and enough food and clothes for every day. Why do we need so much MORE than we could ever really use? I love that you included ways in this post to make a difference and turn this whole world around. Rock on, mama! You are awesome. 

    • Anonymous

      Naomi,

      OMG, I know that song you speak of, and I hate it! I am trying so hard to get better about all of this with my kids, but I am certainly not perfect. We talk a lot about everything, though, and I’m teaching them. Sometimes, though? it’s just easier to buy them something to get them to shutup so I can have some peace. But I hate that I fall into that trap. I don’t mean expensive stuff, but certainly things they don’t NEED. Argh. 

  • Annie & Isabel Hospital Gowns

    I think so many kids are spoiled these days…mine included but I try to do my best to not spoil them too much.  I know some moms who always buy their kids something when they go to a store.  It could be as small as a piece of candy but these wants just get bigger and bigger and parents have a hard time saying no.  These children become so spoiled that when they get presnts for their birthdays, xmas etc it doesn’t mean anything to them.  The thing is…when these kids become adults…they have this attitude that they are entitled to everything. Nothing could possibly be their fault and they have no loyalty or work ethic because everything has always been handed to them.  I’m not saying that everyone is like this but you see it all around you and sometimes it is hard to not fall into that trap yourself when raising children.  Thanks for this great post!!

    • Anonymous

      Annie & Isabel,

      I know exactly what you mean. I am guilty of letting my kids pick things from the $1 bins at Target quite frequently. Usually it’s a reward for good behavior (or sometimes just to thank them for letting me get my shopping done in peace), but I need to reign it in b/c they are coming to expect it. And it’s just junk anyway, which is also terrible for the planet. I’m grateful that my kids are 5 and we’ve still got lots of time to hone in on this. Thank you so much for reading and for your thoughtful comments! 

  • http://www.pamelahutchins.com Pamela

    Love the inspirational kick in the pants.  Thanks, Erin! 

  • http://aladyinfrance.com Lady Jennie

    We’re going to have to seriously cut our budget because of getting a bigger car and a home improvement loan.  I think those two things are important (we’ve been squeezing our two, then three kids in a 1992 Toyota Corolla for years and it is TIME, not to mention my kitchen that is falling apart and I cook and entertain a lot).  Anyway, I think the sacrifice now is worth it because it’s investing in the quality of our home and the ease of our life.  That said, I am nervous about not being able to buy whatever clothes I like and having to shop at Leader Price instead of the larger stores, having to count centimes.  But I think it will be good for me.  If we can continue after the loans are paid off, then we will be in good shape.

    In any case, I have one beaded Fendi bag that was a gift and one discount Coach bag so my gluttony is more buying what we don’t need then other.