After our project on how advertisers persuade us to purchase a whole array of non-essential items, I ask my students to name one thing they'll keep forever.
Baby blankets (some brought them to college)
Military dog tags
Jewelry given from parents or grandparents
Not one student mentions anything related to trendy clothing or technology. Nobody claims any attachment to their phones (we're addicted, not attached!), their laptops, their purses, or their toys.
I realize that most things I'm tempted to purchase for my children have no lasting value. What does? Simple fabric objects of attachment, emblems of service to our nation, symbols of love passed down from generations before, musical instruments, and experiences captured on film.
If we pare down and trim off the excess of our lives, we'll find what really matters. As I raise my daughters in a world saturated with stuff, I might ask myself before I buy it, "Will they keep this forever? What would this purchase symbolize? Can it be an emblem? An experience? A musical object?"
My students' answers remind me of what I love and value.
Journal: What do you own that you'll keep forever?