Monday, November 28, 2011

'Tis the Season -- Give the Gift of the Giving Tree Movement

A woman pepper sprays 10 fellow shoppers as she reaches for an Xbox on Black Friday. Really? Has it really come to this?

Hey, I shop -- and certainly am not against consumerism in general. And, no, this isn't another post about the true meaning of the holidays. But, as we line up at midnight on Thanksgiving evening to be the first to rampage into the stores, what are we telling our kids? What are we telling ourselves?

We all want nice comfortable lives for our families -- I certainly do. But, we all (including myself) need to stop, take a breath, take stock, and reflect on the cues we feed our kids -- and the impacts of those cues. Rampant consumerism; rampant focus on "achievement" -- one scheduled activity after another (and the exhaustion that ensues); rampant focus on success -- without failure (and without the possibility of failure) -- are not the answers (at least in my book).

Giving Tree Movement (GTM) does not claim to have all the answers. In fact, that's not the point. Rather, GTM aims to be safe forum for parents -- for all of us -- to discuss what it means to help us lead our kids to live truly authentic and purposeful lives amidst all the rampant pressures and expectations that they face. GTM was a direct response to many of the problems addressed in the widely-seen sobering documentary "The Race to Nowhere," which served as a wake-up call to many.

GTM's message is catching on fast down here in the San Diego area.

(NOTE -- in the interest of full disclosure, GTM's founder and Chief Inspiration Officer is my wife, Luisa. But, although she is a force in and of herself, that ain't why I am writing this. The message rings true ... and I try to take little steps each day to tailor my cues to our kids perhaps a bit differently than before because of GTM's message ....)