Many of you sent me fascinating emails and posted comments on my Mother’s Day idea to impose a boycott. I want to share two that have a different take on the subject.
The first email I received was from Johanna. She doesn’t think I’m a villain, but…
“In my family, we plant my mom’s garden every year for Mother’s Day. We also go to my mother-in-law’s and all have brunch together (either made by the guys or at a local inexpensive cafe). My kids always make me cards — no buying allowed. My husband usually finds pictures we’ve taken over the year of the kids and puts them together in a collage (done on the computer) and inserts them in a frame we keep just for that purpose.
Taking time out to honor the folks we love seems like a good idea, because everyone gets caught up in everyday life and can forget to say “hey, thanks, and I love you.” But big spending? Totally unnecessary.”
Good points Johanna! I love the way you consciously celebrate not only the day but each other. I think you are introducing your children to some wonderful lessons. This is a great way to teach kids about money too.
Andy, a Wealth Pilgrim if ever there was one, has a very different view of it. His point was so well made, I had to share it with you:
Firstly, I agree that mothers day was probably started by Hallmark with the sole intent of making money. And there is no doubt in mind that many people still approach the day with that thought on their mind.
However, in economics there is a very important concept of externalities. Basically any action is not an isolated event.
My best argument is centered around the belief that our actions are not isolated events but our actions actually shape our feelings and thoughts. Even when that is not our intention.
Charlton Heston claimed that playing the role of Moses affected him in a positive way and strengthened his own religiosity.
On the other side Ralph Fiennes claimed that playing the Nazi Commander in Schindler’s List caused him to have dark moods and behavior.
So quite simply, it does not matter how much we say we appreciation our wife’s and mothers because the simple act of buying something will increase our appreciation for the recipient even more.
It is in our DNA, we can’t change it.
Who’s right? Do you think that the simple act of buying something does indeed make you appreciate someone even more? So does that mean if we really love someone we can justify spending too much and later needing to get out of credit card debt? Or can you make something and will that suffice?
I must admit that until I read Andy’s email, I never would have thought that buying a gift for someone might change my overall relationship to that person, but after thinking about it, I must say that Andy may have a point.
Just the same, I’m not 100% persuaded. The main reason is this:
I don’t want to give myself the easy way out.
If I accept this logic, I could rationalize my behavior. I could tell myself that I’ve completed my obligation to another person if I simply buy them a gift. Andy isn’t saying this exactly, but I do think his argument could have that consequence.
There have been times in the past when I bought someone a gift without really wanting to do so. I felt I had to do it. I don’t think I ever got closer to those people just because I went through the motions of doing something nice for them. If anything, it made me resent them and myself. Now I never give a gift if it doesn’t come from my heart.
I do believe that we can act our way into our feelings. I know this is so from firsthand experience – but I’m just not sure that spending money on someone is going to help me appreciate them more.
Tell you what…I’ll ask my family to try an experiment. (Are you listening, daughters?) I know you made cards for your mother this year but didn’t spend any money for Mother’s Day. Father’s Day is coming up. I want you to spend lavishly on me. We’ll regroup and see who you care more about! 🙂
What do you think the result will be?