February 21, 2018

What influences children to care for the things they own? By Lillian Sanderson

A friend posted online that cleaning out grandmother’s house was “not fun.”

This got me thinking about the times I have had to pack up and help move the older members of my family or much worse, pack up after a death to distribute to charity or to others in the family.  I think humans spend most of their life accumulating and then purging what they accumulated.  We don’t often think about someone else getting stuck moving our stuff.


When we are having a party we clean and straighten up; we put away unfinished projects to make our home look its best.   People who move frequently get in the habit of discarding what they don’t want to take along to the next house.   Those of us who live in small quarters, by necessity, must choose what is most important to keep.  Some people are not “savers,” while others take care to store away what could be used again in the future.  Some people keep things running smoothly for years by effectively maintaining devices according to manufacturers’ recommendations.  Others just use and discard.


Most of our personal environment affects us in one way or another, but what influences children to take care of the things they own, from cars to toothbrushes?


I have seen very organized children who come from totally unorganized households.  I have seen carelessly sloppy people with meticulous parents as well.  Our world environment could benefit from some extra effort on how we manage our many and various possessions.  The disposable attitude is wasteful and costly.


I have so many unanswered questions about childhood and the behavior of adults.  Do our parents’ habits make us neat or sloppy?  Do the fussy moms have children who always keep a neat space at school?  Do “saver” type kids fear throwing away anything they might someday want back again?  Once young adults are living independently, do they keep their new home just like mom and dad did?  How can siblings be so different in these behaviors when raised in the same home?


What do you think influenced the way you teach your children to take care of their possessions?  Once we are adults, do we teach ourselves to manage our households based on trial and error?  Are you ready to pack up and move with ease right now, because you always have everything so orderly?  Would you love to hire someone to organize your “stuff” so you could find it, because you never know where you put anything?

I would love to know your thoughts.


Lillian is a midwestern mother of 5 grown children and a grandmother of ten.








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