Friday, December 2, 2011
Giving, Gratitude, and Moderation
Ever have the feeling that a particular book has made its way to your nightstand, shelf, shopping cart, or library tote for a reason? I NEEDED to read Just Enough and Not Too Much this week, and I should renew it from the library up to my renewal limit and reread it several times. I would probably purchase it, but that would undermine the lesson of the book. During the holiday season, we endeavor to focus on gratitude, appreciation, and selflessness, but the temptation to get wrapped (literally) up in consumerism, bargain-hunting, and over-indulgence is hard to avoid.
My Shop-aholic, Pack-rat Tendancies
I do not consider myself truly addicted to shopping, nor do I believe I collect things to the point of hoarding. However, I am well-aware that I get a rush from finding a bargain and I save and pack away more than is necessary and sometimes reasonable. What do these confessions have to do with children’s books, you’re wondering? Kaethe Zemach’s Just Enough andNot Too Much found its way into my library stack purely by chance as I browsed the shelves without intention. It was just before Thanksgiving and the title piqued my interest. I hoped for a “count your blessings” kind of moral to guide my discussions of gratitude with B and counter some of the “gimme” behaviors ramping up with the holiday store displays and toy catalogs arriving daily. Little did I know it would speak to me as well.
Do You Need It?
Just Enough and Not Too Much is the story of Simon the Fiddler, who lives a contented life until he decides that the things he has make him so happy that he should get even more so he can be happier. So he gets more stuffed animals, more chairs, more of everything that makes him happy, only to find that his crowded house no longer makes him happy, it makes him uncomfortable. He invites all his friends over for a fun party, and then literally shares his happiness when he sends them home with all his extra items. He finds that sharing makes him happier than all the things he had filled his home with, and he goes back to his contented, simple life. There are so many lessons in this book for both children and adults: being content with what we have, the joy of sharing, the value of simplicity, which could all be adjusted to fit the needs of your own family situation. I’m focusing less on surrounding my Christmas tree with gifts and more on sharing the experiences of the season with my children and my family. I am prone to over-do the joy of sharing with my kids to the point of fearing we spoil them sometimes, so I’m also focusing on simplicity for both me and them.
Appropriate for: toddlers, preschoolers, primary grades, everyone!
How do you stay focused on "Just Enough?"