The consumerism era has been linked with decreased life satisfaction and increased depression levels. As materialistic tendencies don't seem to meet our needs as they have been expected, a new way of approaching life has been developed.
Minimalism, or the art of intentionally living with only the things we actually need, helps us remove the distraction of excess possessions in order to focus on things that really matter.
“Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it.” - Joshua Becker, the WSJ Best-Selling author of The More of Less and The Minimalist Home.
How can a minimalist way of living benefit our kids, and what lessons can we teach them from this approach to everyday life? In this article, we'll look at seven essential life lessons that children can learn from minimalism to create more meaningful life experiences.
1. Less is more.
One of the most important lessons kids can learn from minimalism is that owning less stuff you don't actually need makes room for more resources—time, energy, space, money—to spend on doing things you actually enjoy or buy stuff you do need.
There's an unwritten rule in life that says: When somebody leaves our life, space is made for a new person or experience. This same universal rule applies to the stuff we own and store in our homes.
2. Freedom to enjoy life comes with fewer desires.
Throughout history, the greatest minds of humanity have linked freedom with a lack of desire. Of course, wanting things and being active in achieving specific goals in life is not a bad thing. However, the modern era has emphasized accumulating and possessing more and more things to achieve happiness. Minimalism puts things in a different perspective, giving people the freedom from compulsive behaviors such as binge shopping and the constant wanting for more.
Minimalism can teach your kid to step away from consumerism and seek happiness in more authentic, long-lasting ways.
3. Beauty lies in the little things.
Today, children desperately need to be taught that they don't need to be a superstar or any other kind of high achiever in order to be happy and content with life.
Minimalism encourages a simple way of living, where the little things that we come across every day, like a coffee with a dear friend or the smell of books, can fill our hearts with joy and beauty. Becoming a minimalist slows down life adds value to it, and teaches us to focus on the essentials. Superficiality and frivolity are replaced with a meaningful, intentional way of living.
Keep reading: Top Minimalist Tips to Simplify Cooking.
4. Authenticity is the quickest way to living an accomplished life.
Many people are constantly torn between what the world expects from them and what they actually want to do with their lives. In a minimalist mindset, the focus is on intentionally choosing what we feel works best for us and serves our true values. Through minimalism, people can shift away from living a duplicitous life. The intentional characteristic of minimalism—living with clarity, purpose, and intentionality— allows people to actively choose a constant lifestyle and behaviors, regardless of where we are and with whom we're interacting.
Teaching your kid to be authentic is one of the best gifts you can offer to them.
5. Wanting doesn't always mean needing.
Although there is nothing wrong with desiring an item, many people nowadays don't know how to distinguish between a want and a need. Teaching children to make the difference between the two can help them, especially in times of crisis, when they might need to reconsider how they spend their resources.
6. Happiness comes from the inside.
A lot of the compulsion to own more comes from the false idea that happiness can be achieved through outside factors, like things or people. However, real, long-lasting happiness stems from within, and this essential lesson should be taught to children early in life.
Minimalism encourages this type of mindset and supports a way of living that focuses a lot on how WE feel about the external world and not the other way around.
7. Gratefulness comes from being content with what we have.
In minimalism, living with just the items you really need makes room for appreciating the little things. You don't buy stuff to fill an inner gap but rather enjoy what is already there to serve your needs. Owning less stuff can make us more thankful for what we have. Teaching children to embrace minimalism can help them be happy with less instead of always wanting more.
Minimalism is a lifestyle that, as difficult as it may seem, provides rewarding outcomes on many levels. Raising your kid in a minimalist environment can teach them to build a prosperous life based on what they value most, with authentic purposes at its core.
Photo credit: Natasha Hall on Unsplash.