Friday, April 18, 2008

Oprah's Challenge

K, I really don't watch daytime TV very often, but yesterday I caught a little bit of Oprah. It was a great show. She gave this challenge to a couple families:

Dear Family,

Thanks for agreeing to live with less for a week. Your challenge starts now!

This week, you will be eating at home every meal. No more eating out, no more takeout. And you have to eat your leftovers. If you throw food in the trash, you've got to 'fess up.

For one week, you're going to give up the bottled water habit. Get a water filter—time to get to know your tap.

No more disposable plates, cups, napkins or paper towels. Try cloth—you might like it!

For entertainment, you'll have to rely on each other. For one week, I'm asking you to give up your iPods and video games, and your computers only get turned on for homework. TV is limited to one hour per night—one TV only.

That thermostat is going way down…to 69 degrees. If you get cold, put on a sweater.

Give your washing machine a break—try to wash only clothes that are TRULY dirty.

When you leave a room, lights out. Ditto for fans. When you're done using an appliance, unplug it. Don't forget your computer and cell phone chargers too.

Showers are going to be shorter—eight minutes max. Use a kitchen timer to help you keep track.
Want to go shopping? Head to your closets. That's your wardrobe for the week. The mall is off-limits.

You final challenge—no buying anything other than food for seven days.

Good luck,

I was surprised how taking this challenge impacted these families. One of the little boys was "suffering withdrawals like a drug addict" when he couldn't play on the computer and video games. Both families said they wouldn't go back to how they were living before the challenge and it was embarrassing to see the things they were doing before.

One family said it was probably $700 in savings a month, just in food! Besides all the money they saved on not wasting food, electricity, and other resources, I believe the most important thing they learned was how to spend time together.

It brought the families closer. They spent time doing activities together rather then having individual forms of entertainment. One of the dads said they used to climb into their bed with their kids before going to sleep and watch some TV. He said he was embarrassed to admit it, but he would normally shh his kids because he was more interested in the TV program than listening to what his kids wanted to tell him. Now, he loved listening to his kids and treasured those moments. It's great that he recognized it and decided to change. The families went on bike rides, they read to each other, and ate dinner together.

Not only did Oprah challenge these families not to be wasteful, she asked all the staff at her company to conserve as well. The company's annual budget just for cups was $41,000! Oprah installed hidden cameras at all the coffee stations in the office to see how wasteful people were. Some people used 4 or 5 cups a day,m just for water. So, Oprah made a new rule for all the full-time employees that they were no longer allowed to use the cups; they have to bring their own mugs from home. I'm not a huge Oprah fan, like lots of people, but I really think it's great that she's trying to do something to help too.

I want to be less wasteful. These families Oprah challenged were very wealthy and didn't have to conserve for financial purposes. I feel like our family does our best to conserve, partly becuase we have to stay within a budget, but, I know we can always do better.

All this reminds me of the talk by Elder Ballard in conference when he said that we only have our children at home for 1/4 of their lives and the time they are the most impressionable is only 1/10 of their life. Something like that. He said it much better of I found the quote:

If a child lives with parents for 18 or 19 years, that span is only one-fourth of a parent’s life. And the most formative time of all, the early years in a child’s life, represents less than one-tenth of a parent’s normal life. It is crucial to focus on our children for the short time we have them with us and to seek, with the help of the Lord, to teach them all we can before they leave our homes.

I will try to treasure every moment with Jaxon, and our children to come, becuase I know in a few years, I will have no idea where the time went and I want to have no regrets about how I spent that precious time I was given to care for them.

Having family here on this earth is such a blessing and having the opportunity to be with them forever is truly the greatest gift. I am so thankful for a loving Father in Heaven who gave us the knowledge of how this is possible and teaches us what we need to do to partake in these eternal blessings.

I didn't quite mean for that to sound like a church talk, but it sorta does, oh well...those are my random thoughts I guess! Hope you enjoyed!


The Van Fam said...

Wow I totally want to try that challenge!! I know we are way too wasteful at our house I'm almost scared to see how much we waste! Actually this last week we have tried to eat at home for every meal and I have been making Michael take his lunches, (mean, I know!) but I really think it would save us so much money every month! I realized after eating at home that I feel so much healthier too! Ya thursday would work for me next week, what do you want to do?

Jen said...

Ruthann. I enjoyed reading put awesome reflections and family ideas on your blog. I may be up for the challenge..don't know about the no paper plates thing though ;) thanx for sharing!

royalbird said...

Great talk! No, just kidding, but this is a topic I've been really thinking a lot about lately. I think we need to do this challenge and see how it impacts our lives! Not only would we not waste so much money on superfluous things, but less time would be wasted on things that have no eternal significance. Good post!

Ryan and Denyse said...

Go Oprah!! Hey cute blog, don't know if I told ya that already!!


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