paradox of choice

I've been thinking a lot lately about the paradox of choice - the idea that when people have more choices, it actually leads to greater anxiety.   Kembe's homecoming from Haiti has caused me to analyze many of the ways we live life here in America.  I am not one of those people who subscribes to the idea that internationally adopted children are "lucky" because they now get to grow up in America.  I think that children benefit from life in a family instead of an institution, but I really believe that there are pros and cons to every culture.  I am aware of some of the benefits he gets from living in America - certainly education, safety, and privilege being at the forefront.  But I am also humble enough to think through some of the parts of our lifestyle that might be less than ideal.

I am often introspective about the contrast between our family life and his life at the orphanage, and one of the things that stands out is the amount of choices we have here.  I'm not always sure this is a good thing.  At the orphanage, life was very predictable.  The nannies didn't have to make a lot of choices.   They wore scrubs every day, and had few distractions from caring for the children.  The kids had a set schedule each day.  They weren't going to Disneyland or running errands.  But they were content.

I'm really wondering about how to simplify our life.  I'm starting to wonder how the reduction of choices might affect our family in positive ways.  What if we had less clothing?  What if we went fewer places?  What if we drastically pared down our meals, our errands, our toys, our activities?

I don't have any answers yet.  But I'm wrestling with this stuff.

Speaking of choices, Kembe chose his own outfit today.  Board shorts, plaid shirt, beanie, sandals.    I think he is looking like a Southern California kid!

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree with you. I think that is why I've made several choices to simplify our life filled with choices. I rotate toys by putting some in boxes and then they only come back out every three months. We only have two choices for each meal, either what I'm preparing or a sandwich. One day each week is a no drive day where the only places we go to are ones we can walk to. I think, mostly because of finances, that we live rather humbly. We don't dine out much or spend really any money on entertainment. So, things like the free night at the children's museum or the libraries kids concerts and puppet shows are a must. The children also have started getting allowance that is the same amount as their age to save or spend on whatever they want. This has really cut down on them asking for things at stores. Now they bring their own money and if they have enough they can but it, if they don't we will take a pic of it with our camera phone and help them save for it.
    Hmmm...not sure what else. I just know that for our family it feels right. To reduce our carbon footprint where we can, to recycle what we can (or upcycle), to be grateful for the abundance that we are surrounded by and utilize all that is around us.
    Does that make sense? And I'd also say that goes for us adults. We don't buy into the whole idea of "needing" things like Starbucks daily, a flatscreen TV, a new iphone, the newest laptop...ect.
    I guess I'd say we're trying to be more content.


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