Thursday, May 14, 2009

Back to School “Must-Haves”

Originally Posted on the Common Threads Blog,
Centre Daily Times, Aug 22, 2007

The end of summer vacations is here.

And it is “Back to School” season…accompanied by marketing efforts announcing the “must-haves” for this new season.

The other day, my daughter showed me a flyer which said “Send your kids back to school in style.”

I could go on and on about my frustration with this…

Yes, children outgrow their clothes – and they need new ones, but do they “need” the latest fashions to be able to learn at school?

Yes, they need a sturdy backpack, but do they “need” the latest kind to carry their stuff?

Yes, they need comfortable shoes, but....

Do they need to wear these “must-haves” – the uniforms dictated by the fashion industry?

Imagine all the consumption, that turns kids into clones of each other, in the name of individuality.

And imagine all the resources spent, in making these items and then transporting them from all parts of the world to us.

Getting ready for “back to school season,” needs a change in mindset, rather than a change in wardrobe.

Would it not suffice, if we got ready for school,
….by mentally getting ready for the structured learning environment?
….by getting used again to early bedtimes and waking up early ?
….by adjusting to learn in the midst of other children ?
….by polishing up attitudes towards classmates and teachers ?
….by learning to manage time to handle the demands of schoolwork and other work ?

These changes are hard enough for many kids, after a long summer vacation, even without having to figure out if their clothes are “cool.”

And I know some kids may be waiting for school in order to wear their “cool” clothes.

But as a society, should we really be encouraging this notion in our kids, that we are only the sum of our material possessions?

No comments: