Sunday, July 19, 2009

Commentary: I really should stop buying cheap toy cars

I just listened to an interview with Ellen Ruppel Shell, author of Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture. In the interview she mentioned that the price tag was invented by John Wanamaker, an American merchant born in 1838. The price tag is such a ubiquitous part of my own economic experience that I had never considered that price tags have only been around for about 150 years. It amazes me how quickly some ideas can transform the world.

Ellen Ruppel also talked about how the American consumer has been trained to not expect much of the items we purchase, especially when those items are inexpensive. I'm thinking of the cheap toy cars that I buy my son. The axles always bend after just a short time of play. Do I take the broken toy back demanding a replacement? No, I just do as I have been trained -I rationalize the poor quality by admitting that it only cost a dollar or two. I am sad to report that I have also been known to buy poor quality furniture, clothes, tools, electronics, etc, all in the name of low cost. Even my housing choices are governed more by cost that by value and quality. How did we ever get to the point where cheap junk is acceptable as long as it has a low price? Such waste of money and resources. My grandparents are rolling over in their graves!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Resource: FHE Idea, Financial Stewardship

Jenny Whitcomb wrote a nice guest post at the Segullah Blog about a recent Family Home Evening wherein she taught her children about financial stewardship:

"So FHE became a Consumer Awareness 101 group therapy session centered on two visuals: a credit card, and a piggy bank. We shared thoughts, from youngest to oldest, starting with the credit card, and taught each other everything we knew about that little piece of plastic."

"It takes discipline to manage the card, more than it does to make purchases from a piggy bank. The key? Embrace the principle of work and save in order to consume. Not that owning a credit card or desire equals entitlement, but understand that the credit behind our credit cards is actually cash. To have the money in our pockets before we spend it is a worthy guideline."

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Commentary: Upcoming Chances to Discuss Earth Stewardship in Sunday School

Important first thought: I don't want to promote any kind of "activism" at church...except of course Christian activism.

With that out of the way, I want to remind everyone of some great opportunities to discuss Earth Stewardship in upcoming Sunday School classes. Lesson 22 The Word of Wisdom "A Principle with a Promise", and lesson 38 "In Mine Own Way" both include some material regarding with Earth Stewardship.

Lesson 22 includes D&C 59:17-20 as source material. This lesson will probably be taught sometime in May.

Lesson 38 includes D&C 104:13-18 as source material. This lesson will probably be taught sometime in October. BTW, The late Elder Maxwell had some interesting words regarding these scriptures.

If you find it appropriate,
and if it fits into the content of your class discussions,
and if it adds to the spirit of your class,
and if it brings glory to God,
then please consider sharing your feelings about Earth Stewardship during one or both of these lessons.

Final thought: Please don't abuse this as a chance to prove a point or advance a political agenda. Nobody likes it when people abuse church meetings for their own purposes.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Ground Hog and a BYU Prof Weigh-in on Climate Change

I have intentionally avoided all climate discussion on this blog. The Gospel has nothing to say about the climate explicitly, and I have chosen to focus on things the Gospel does say. There are so many other reasons to be kind to the Earth. Plus, I think that for many of us, talk of climate change is a real turn-off. Having said all that, I couldn't stay away from this topic forever.

Today is Ground Hog's Day. The Ground Hog saw his shadow, and thus we will have six more weeks of winter, and thus the globe is not warming. OK, I made that last part up. And for the record, I am against asking rodents for advice in scientific matters. I am also against asking politicians for scientific advice. (Politicians and rodents in the same category?) You know who is a good source for all things science? I'll tell you who: scientists. Like this guy who gave a lecture at BYU.