Bad mom confession: I don't buy into the whole "back to school shopping" thing. If the girls need something then I will get it for them but I don't feel the need to buy everything new just because the adds tell me my kids need it. Don't get me wrong, kids grow so fast that by the end of summer they often do necessitate new clothes or shoes. Certainly by the time cooler weather rolls around there is need for some warm weather apparel that fits, but the whole concept of an entirely new wardrobe just because it is new? Nope. Not for me.
Now, I know this makes me weird and even a bit unpopular but it's where I am and where my heart is right now. In preparing to go to Africa in less than 2 weeks I have been reading books on poverty, apathy and the consumer mindset we (yep, that includes me) have. We want more, we feel we need more and we believe we are entitled to spend our money on anything we want. This just isn't true and it is not necessarily the message we should be passing onto the next generation of consumers.
So, in order for this not simply to be a rant about how you should think like me, I just want to encourage you to think about it. Could you compromise by buying a few nice new (or "new to you") outfits for school but not feeling the need to buy and entirely new wardrobe? Have the clothes that were worn for the first 3 weeks of August really become unacceptable? Just a thought. Sometimes by changing how we spend our money we are able to give it away in other ways.
This is a great time to fill a backpack with basic supplies for families that can't even buy basic school supplies let alone a new wardrobe. Often the local Salvation Army or a local church will have a backpack giveaway. Even leaving a backpack in the school office at your school is a great way to give. Buying a stockpile of supplies for your student's teacher is also always a great way to give back. Look into this in your area and then get your kids in on the giving aspect not just the consuming aspect.
I recently read this very convicting phrase: If we aren’t struggling against our culture, we are giving into it.
Let me tell you, it's messing with my head. I don't want to give into the consumer lifestyle. I don't want to give my kids the world of stuff at the expense of a larger world view. I know that this is not easy to think about but if we don't ever struggle with the "why" of our actions and attitudes then we are giving into something we don't understand.
For a great "how to" example of back to school shopping with a twist, check out my friend Charli over at WV Urban Hippes. She has a great post about back to school shopping. I absolutely love her thoughts and she is on much less of a "rant" than I am.
The intent of this post is not to judge or condemn but to challenge. Be encouraged to not just give into what the culture expects of us. Live a counter-cultural life with your family. Blessings!