How Do We Resist Consumerism?

A question that continues to pursue me is: How do we resist the seductions of a culture that invites us to define ourselves by what we consume?

I was amazed by a young 13-year-old who gave me a partial answer! Before Christmas, a mother said to me: “It’s so hard these days to satisfy children with incredible ‘wish lists’: brand names are in, and they wish for nothing less! Except for my 13-year-old who said to me: ‘Mom, I don’t want anything; I don’t need anything!’ I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! What shall I do? I immediately thought she would feel left out on Christmas Eve when we opened our gifts. But she repeated: ‘No, Mom, that’s okay. I don’t want or need anything!’”

What did I think as I listened to that mom? I thought she had an unusual child and a wonderful problem. I had a quick solution! “Why not take her down to the sidewalk between Applebee’s and Olive Garden and let her approach any homeless, jobless, hungry person there and invite one of them to have lunch with the two of you?”

I’d love to know if the mom took my suggestion!

How would you have answered that mom? And, my original question about consumerism? Does it pursue you sufficiently to call forth action? I’d love to know . . .

Renée Domeier, OSB