To be fair to the kids, we provided the packing list. Now I subscribe to the old scouts’ motto of Be Prepared, but with the gear we asked our students to bring, and some biodegradable Dr. Bronner’s All-One soap, they could have taken a two-week trek.
We live in a very materialistic world. Even here at LMS, where we make a conscious effort at minimalism and teaching self-sufficiency, it is hard to escape our consumer culture. We practice recycling and reusing, and that is great, but the end game is about making do with less and leaving less of a footprint.
Learning that you can hang your wet socks out to dry and go without until they do, or that you don’t need to change into a different T-shirt for each activity may not seem like a big thing, but it is from little habits that life patterns are formed. In fact, my grandson, Max, went off on his two-week adventure this summer with just what he could carry in his backpack (and that included his sleeping bag and mat). I like this rule, whether for a trek or a plane trip: if you can’t carry it you don’t need it.
In his classic routine, Stuff, George Carlin reflects, “that's all your house is, a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff." For a good thought-provoking laugh, you can watch the routine at www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvgN5gCuLac.
So maybe next year we can use the Elementary overnight as a teachable moment in how to make do with less stuff.