All right, there are some things all of you should know about each other.
Some of you vote Democrat. Some of you vote Republican. And I also happen to know that, amongst your ranks are at least one Socialist, Liberatarian, and Anarchist.
Some of you attend church every Sunday. You’re Catholics, Protestants, Evangelicals, Latter-Day Saints, Christian Scientists, and Unitarian Universalists. Others of you embrace spirituality but not organized religion, borrowing ideas from Native American religions, Buddhism, and humanism. And some of you are agnostics, or atheists.
Some of you have been happily married for years. And some of you have never married. Others have been through horrible divorces. And still others of you share your lives with same-sex partners.
By my estimate, half of you are men, and half of you are women. You’re baby boomers, gen x-ers, and millenials. Some of you have 5 children who fill your days with joy and laughter, and some of you are very happy with an only child. Some of you have raised honor students, and some of you have children with special needs (who may or may not be honor students). Others of you are leading fulfilling lives with no children.
You live in the suburbs, with a steady 9-to-5. You live in the country and homestead. You live nomadically and work seasonally.
You eat out for every meal. You find your microwave to be indispensible. You shop at the food co-op and eat an organic diet. You raise and grow all of your own food.
You quite comfortably refer to yourself as a minimalist. Or you shun the label, but live simply. Or, right now, you know that you couldn’t possibly adapt such a lifestyle.
You’re diverse. You come from all different walks of life. But you’re here, because something that I’ve said has resonated with you. You’re here, because, on some level, you reject the pre-packaged life that society tries to sell us.
Rejecting the script does not mean that we follow another script, in its place. We’re not here to be “individuals like everyone else.” There is no doctrine to minimalism, no “right” way to do it. It’s not a matter of simply replacing one package with another.
Living counter-culturally means questioning all that we’re told, is the “way things are.” Some things we’ll keep, some we’ll leave, and some we’ll think about. If you think that I’m writing this, because the way we live is the “right” way to live, then you have misunderstood my purpose.
I’m writing this, to share what rejecting the script means to our family. That doesn’t mean that the way we live will be right for you. And, there is no reason to feel defensive, if that is the case. I want to make you think. I want you to question all that we are told. If you’ve thought about it, and have still chosen that 9-to-5 job and house in the suburbs, that’s fine. What I want, is for you to live intentionally. I want the life you create to be yours and yours alone. I want you to question, to ask “WHY” do we do the things we do. And, if the answer is not in alignment with your values, I want you to reject it.
Currently, with the way the media, reality television, and Facebook handle differing viewpoints, it’s easy to believe that we can only associate with people who agree with us on everything. But, if you look back at how diverse you all are, there is absolutely no way that any of you could possibly agree with me on everything.
So it’s time for a change in mindset.
When we’re surrounded by people with whom we always agree, we rob ourselves of the chance to grow and change. It’s through sharing ideas—and they may be radically different ideas—that we are able to pick and choose which knowledge we would like to use, and how we will use it. It’s through the differences in our experiences, our learning, and our ideas that we help each other to grow, and to become better.
Sharing ideas is not “debating.” It’s just introducing a different perspective. And that is something I welcome here, so never be shy about speaking up!