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Becoming a Clutter-Free Family

Air Date 01/29/2018

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Joshua Becker discusses the benefits a family can experience if they reduce the amount of "stuff" they have and simplify their lives. He addresses parents in particular, explaining how they can set healthy boundaries on how much stuff their kids have, and establish new habits regarding the possession of toys, clothes, artwork, gifts and more.

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Episode Transcript

Opening:

Excerpt:

Man #1: We’ve got Power Wheels, um, two tricycles, three bicycles…

Woman #1: I’ve thrown things away.

Man #2: There’ve been times where I’ve stepped on, you know, Legos...

Woman #2: We have Barbie dolls, we have clothes...

Man #3: They’re juniors in high school. They come home; they spread out their work all over the dining room table.

Man #4: And it’s a two-car garage and thankfully we can still fit two cars in there, but it’sdefinitelya squeeze trying to get past.

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: Well, maybe you can relate to some of those comments. Maybe there’s just so much kid clutter in your home you feel overwhelmed. You’re going to appreciate the conversation today on Focus on the Family. We’re going to help you simplify your life and your space. And your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, don’t you love the new year? Because we can say to each other how are you doing on those resolutions?

John: Yeah, it’s gonna be different this year.

Jim: We know each other well enough, don’t we? So - OK, so...

John: Yeah.

Jim: ...How’s your clutter-free resolution going?

John: Oh, that’s always the work...

Jim: (Laughter).

John: It’s sort of like, you know, the comment about a two-car garage that you can fit two cars.

Jim: That - he has no problem.

John: I think that’s - that’s, like - that’s not a problem.

Jim: I know that’s why I was laughing. I mean, that guy...

John: And I just...

Jim: ...He has nothing to complain about.

John: We live in an older house with one car. And at one point, we had a fleet of, like, seven cars parked outside.

Jim: With all your kids, right.

John: I could not keep up, yeah.

Jim: Yeah.

John: So clutter is always an ongoing thing.

Jim: Yeah.

John: And kids seem to do just what was said in that - in those clips. They spread it everywhere.

Jim: It’s so true. I think, for me, uh, you know, it’s about every three or four months, I gotta do the garage. Everybody knows how much I love my garage (laughter).

John: Well, let me say for the listeners, every three or four months, you can’t stand it anymore.

Jim: That’s right, yeah. And, you know, the thing I’m getting a little better at - I throw away everything. But unfortunately, I’ll throw away, like, phone numbers that Jean needs (laughter). Yeah, I don’t know...

John: Yeah, I don’t know if you throw my...

Jim: ...Where is that phone number...

John: ...Reports away.

Jim: ...That I had on the counter? Oh, man, I’m sorry. I threw that in the trash.

John: I thought it was...

Jim: That’s bad, isn’t it?

John: Yeah.

Jim: (Laughter) Well, we don’t want to go that far. And, you know, most of us feel that burden of clutter. Our houses, our cars, our garages are full. If you’re feeling buried under your stuff, this program is for you. This is one of those unique angles. We’re going to come alongside you and help you, and I think vicariously help John and me too...

John: It’s really an intervention for us.

Jim: And everybody that’s on the staff here listening to do a better job with clutter, not just us, as adults. But also, how do we help our kids learn to de-clutter?

John: Yeah, and we’ve got Joshua Becker back. And he’s got a popular blogBecoming Minimalist.Don’t read it unless you’re ready to do something in your life.

Jim: It’s hardcore.

John: It’s a great blog. He’s also a former youth pastor, and he’s written a couple of books. One’s calledClutterfree With Kids. And we’ve got details about that in the CD bundle at focusonthefamily.com/radio.

Body:

Jim: Welcome back to Focus on the Family.

Joshua Becker: Well, it is good to be here.

Jim: (Laughter).

Joshua: Thank you so much.

Jim: It feels like I’m going...

Joshua: It sounds like this is important.

Jim: I feel like I’m going to the principal’s office (laughter).

John: Yeah, well, we had a lot of guilt associated with Joshua’s last visit. Why did we have him back? Whose idea was that?

Jim: It must’ve been Eva (ph) our producer, but I think she’s feeling guilty too.

John: Yeah, it was a great program.

Jim: Joshua, it is good to have you back. I love - this is a biblical application. And in our materialistic world, we tend to look by that and just kind of chuckle, and it’s funny. When it comes to kids, which is part of the emphasis today, why is it important for kids to be clutter-free?

Joshua: Yeah, well, I think because, uh,we are always communicating and teaching values to our kids. And if they see us living in a home where we already have more than we need, and yet, we are constantly pursuing and accumulating more and more and more, um, one of the lessons that they’re - that they’re learning from us. I think that’s so - so important. I don’t know what the three most common words are in the American home, if it’s I love you, or if it’s let’s go shopping, it’s...

Jim: (Laughter).

Joshua: It’s on sale, I want that, watch this advertisement, you know.

Jim: That’s an interesting test actually. You think about that. What’s the most common phrase you use in your home? Does clean up your room count?

Joshua: Clean up your room...

Jim: (Laughter).

Joshua: ...That’s four words. It probably counts.

Jim: And you’re a father of a teen. You have a 15-year-old. And how old is your other child?

Joshua: Uh, my daughter is 11.

Jim: Right, so 15 and 11. I’ve got 15 and 17. You’ve got kids somewhere around.

John: It’s on the spectrum, yeah.

Jim: Right, up into their 20s. But I guess the basic question is it actually possible to even get your kids to clutter-free?

Joshua: Well, I think it’s - most certainly is.

Jim: Are they living it - your kids?

Joshua: Uh, they do. They do do a very good job of it. Now, I started with this nine years ago, so they were younger - two and six. I do think that throwing clutter-free principles upon them when they’re in their teenage years, and they’ve been growing up in a certain home in a certain family and you living your life in a certain way, that trying to change that at 16 or 17 is a little more - a little more difficult.

Jim: So that’s a cautionary, right?

John: Yeah.

Joshua: Yeah, I think...

Jim: Parents, do not do this...

Joshua: No, certainly, the...

Jim: ...If you have teenagers...

Joshua: Certainly, the - no, no.

Jim: ...Or go slow.

Joshua: Certainly, the sooner you get started, the, uh - the better. And certainly, the - any time that you have them under your roof, there’s - there’s opportunities to...

Jim: Now, you reference...

Joshua: ...Show its importance.

Jim: You reference that program. For those that didn’t hear it - if you didn’t, get a copy, and we can get that to you. Contact us here at Focus on the Family, and we can make sure you get that. But just do a quick recap of - in 2008, what happened to you and your wife with these little wonderful children that you have? - I’m sure.

Joshua: Yeah.

Jim: You’re lookingaround going, what in the world are we doing?

Joshua: Yeah.

Jim: How did you come to that crisis?

Joshua: Yeah, short story, I was living in Vermont. I was doing some typical spring cleaning, as most Americans do. I was cleaning out the garage. I pulled everything out in the driveway.

Jim: (Laughter).

Joshua: I spent hours...

Jim: That’s dangerous...

Joshua: ...Working on this.

Jim: ...Right there.

Joshua: My son was five years old in the backyard begging me to come play with him, of course, as a 5-year-old would. And I struck up a conversation with my neighbor. I begin complaining a little bit about how much time I’d spent on the garage. She was complaining about the time that she had spent taking care of her yard. And she made this comment to me. She says, yeah, that’s why my daughter is a minimalist. She keeps telling me I don’t need to own all this stuff. And I remember looking at the pile of possessions piled up in my driveway all dirty and dusty and broken, you know. And I knew full-well that my possessions weren’t making me happy, or at least we would all say that our - that we know our possessions aren’t making us happy.

But as I looked at the pile of things in my driveway, and then I see my 5-year-old son swinging alone in the backyard where he’d been all morning, suddenly this further realization that not only were my things not making me happy, but my things were actually taking me away from the very thing that did bring me happiness and purpose and fulfillment in life. And I think that that’s a very different realization. And in many ways, it forms the basis for the bookClutterfree With Kids.It forms the basis for what I think is such an important conversation that all this stuff that we own is actually keeping us from living life to the fullest. And, um, it’s important for us, as adults, and for our kids to learn.

Jim: Now, I want to represent, you know, the two sides of this. Because I tend to be a thrower, like I referenced. I mean, I throw scraps away that I shouldn’t throw away, and I’ve gotten better at that. So there’s two extremes in this regard, I think. Um, I think I would fall into that minimalist category, if I could. Um, but then you have the person that just saves like crazy - what we would call the pack rat. You were kind of that person - self-described. How do you make that kind of leap from, you know, being that pack rat - that’s emotional. The Lord used that imagery of your child being in the backyard.

Joshua: Yeah.

Jim: That - that probably could do it. But was it easy, or was it difficult to say, OK, I’m getting rid of my stuff?

Joshua: Oh, it was, uh - it was both. And I think this is important. It was easy in the moment for me to notice that something had to change, that I just wasted an entire day taking care of stuff that didn’t matter at the expense of one of the things that mattered most in my life. Um, that being said, it was still a 9, 10-month process of going through the home and getting rid of things, the - the time that’s spent going there, the physical energy, the emotional energy that you expend going through that process. Um, probably the one thing that that helped me change most from the previous lifestyle to the new lifestyle was the realization that the collection of my belongings had become so unintentional that my life had just kind of been swept away with culture and society and consumerism. And I - I bought all these things that I didn’t need to have. I kept all these things that weren’t enriching my life in any way. And just thinking to myself, like,this is not an intentional way to live life. An intentional way is to just keep the things that you need, getting rid of the rest along the way.

Jim: Yeah, one of the challenges - and, John, I don’t know if this is true for you. But one of the challenges, if I buy something that I need that day, and I won’t need it again for a long time, it’s hard for me to throw away because I’m thinking, ah, you know, I’m going to need that someday - whatever it is.

John: Yeah.

Jim: And so it may be three years it’s in my garage still, and I’m going, yeah, I’m not going to throw that away yet because there may come that time when I need it again.

Joshua: Yeah.

Jim: And I don’t know what the price range would be. But how do you get over the justification of saying there may come a day, 20 years from now, where I’ll need that thing again?

Joshua: Yeah. Well, on the front-end of that conversation, if it’s something that I’m only going to need once or once every year, most of us have neighbors. I think there’s a lot of - there’s a lot of opportunity to borrow some of those items as opposed to, um, buying them in the first place - so, um...

Jim: Yeah.

Joshua: ...Thinking - thinking through that. Realizing that if it’s something that I needed, that someone else may - may need it as well. And if I only need it every three or - it’s just very interesting the - like, the world today, possessions are so much more accessible than they were. The Internet has made the - like, this sharing economy...

Jim: Yeah.

Joshua: ...Um, much more real and applicable to...

Jim: Things are cheap.

Joshua: ...Find things that we need, uh, to borrow them from others. It’s far more possible today than ever before.

Jim: Yeah. Now, here’s the problem - we’re all married here. You might come to that revelation. What about your spouse who’s going, there ain’t no way we’re doing that because I love my stuff and maybe for right reason - all the sentimental value of things. And we get that. But how do you come to an agreement with your spouse, whether it’s your husband or your wife? I mean, either attribute can - gender is no factor in this.

Joshua: Yeah.

Jim: So what do you do when you have the spouse that doesn’t quite see it the way you see it?

Joshua: Yeah. Well, there’s twodifferent conversations there. There’s the - the - the spouse who sees it but sees it differently. It’s always easier to see everyone else’s clutter than it is to see our own. It’s always easier to see the kids clutter in our home. It’s easier to see everything that my wife has that she obviously doesn’t need.

(LAUGHTER)

Joshua: It’s much...

Jim: That’s bigtime permission if you can say to each other, you de-clutter me, and I’ll de-clutter you.

Joshua: Yeah.

John: Yeah.

Joshua: Exactly.

Jim: Whoo! That might start some fights.

Joshua: Exactly, because it’s very - because she’s looking at all the things that I have that she doesn’t think that I need. Um, so there’s...

Jim: (Laughter).

Joshua: ...That part. There’s - there’s compromise. There’s always the realization that two people living in a home, that four people living in a home is always going to mean more stuff than one person in a home. So there’s that. And then there’s the - the opposite side of the spectrum where the person really is the pack rat, really is the- hoarding tendencies almost. And that conversation is - certainly takes a little more time. Uh, it takes a little more effort. I think in that space, the spouse who’s pursuing minimalism is certainly handling what they can handle on their own and handling their own stuff and giving their spouse time and space.

Jim: So don’t - I’m hearing this - don’t force your spouse to go too far...

Joshua: Yeah.

Jim: ...Beyond their comfort.

Joshua: Yeah.

Jim: And then just make it a process over time.

Joshua: Yeah, giving them time. I once had a conversation with a woman who, she said, for five years, she had been pursuing minimalism. For five years, she had been the one in the family getting rid of stuff. And she said, just last week, my husband said to me, I finally understand what you’re doing. It makes sense to me. And so I think sometimes we - we go through certain stages of personal development. God’s doing work in our heart and showing us things where we need to grow and change and mature. But that’s not always the same thing that our spouse is working on, so - and that God is doing in their life at any given time. So giving them space and patience and love and grace...

John: Yeah.

Joshua: ...And remembering all the things that they wish they could change about us is also helpful, I think, as well.

Jim: They got to see it.

John: We’re talking to Joshua Becker on today’s Focus on the Family. Your host is Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller. And you can find Joshua’s bookClutterfree With Kids- kind of an oxymoron in some ways - but you can find out how to be clutter-free with kids.

Jim: Sounds like heaven to me.

John: Yeah, we’ll send a book and CD bundle to you when you contact us here at focusonthefamily.com, or when you call 800-A-FAMILY.

Jim: All right, Joshua, let’s move this discussion into the kids zone. Uh, (laughter) how do you deal with all the toys? I mean, I’ve got a basement full of toys that the boys have outgrown. Now, we’ve got foster kids that come through that, you know, they’ve enjoyed them. But I think the toy clutter is the thing for me that can be most distracting,especially when I step on that stinking Lego. How many times have I done that, you know, middle of the night, going down to check something? Ouch. Have you done that?

John: Oh, so many times, yes.

Jim: We need to take that guy to court - the inventor of Lego...

John: (Laughter).

Jim: ...For damages...

Joshua: He’s probably got...

Jim: ...To the sole of...

Joshua: He’s probably got some money.

Jim: ...The feet.

Joshua: He’s probably got some money if you want to go after him.

Jim: What do we do?

Joshua: Well, I think the, uh - the first thing always before anything else, I try to remind parents that it is - it is entirely unfair for your first act of de-cluttering to be all of your kids’ stuff.

Jim: Oh, that’s good. That’s good.

Joshua: Um, because that’s where most people run to. I can’t wait to get rid of all the toys in the teenager’s room and all that stuff. But the reality is we’ve got to do our own stuff first. The kids have to...

Jim: See it.

Joshua: ...See us doing it. They have to see us explaining why we’re doing it. Um, number one, just to set the example. But number two because we then, I think, go through the emotions that they’re going to go through. We find some, uh, solutions and some tricks and some things that will help them when we get to their space.

Jim:So - OK, that’s fair. You de-clutter yourself, at least start the process. But then I’m getting back to the Legos. How do we actually then go back to the basement and de-clutter?

John: Now, wait a minute. Don’t you have, like, bins and bins of the...

Jim: (Laughter) I’m not going to tell.

John: ...That plastic...

Jim: There’s confession, and then there’s stupidity.

John: OK.

Jim: So this falls under stupidity. We have lots of those little things.

John: Yeah.

Jim: But, you know, there’s just so much stuff. So once you’re demonstrating it, your kids can see it, and they’re going, wow, that’s really neat, Dad, you’re throwing everything away. Just don’t throw my stuff away. Yes, Son, let’s have a discussion about that.

Joshua: Yeah.

Jim: Where do we go from there?

Joshua: Yeah, so with almost any aspect of kids stuff, uh, I think that physical boundaries, uh, is so helpful. So we had to de-clutter our home. We spent four, five, six months going through all of our stuff - the bathrooms and bedrooms, the kitchens. And we...

Jim: That’s good to hear right there that it’s not a weekend.

Joshua: Yeah, for sure, for sure. And then we got to my son’s toy room. And, uh, it was in the basement. And he had a whole room full of toys. And we said, hey - I think he knew it was coming because we’d been through all the other rooms. And we said, OK, Salem, here’s the deal. You can have as many toys as you want that fit against this wall in the toy room.

Jim: Sounds big.

Joshua: Yeah. You can decide what you want to keep. You can decide which toys are most important, but they have to fit against this wall. Anything that overflows from that wall, we’re going to get rid of, and we’re going to - we’re going to pass along. Um, and so I think that this empowers them to make the decisions about what to keep. They can see the physical space, so I can keep this, but then I’d have to get rid of that. It helps them recognize that. We used that for kids’ clothes, my kid - my daughter’s artwork collection. We’ve since moved it down to my daughter. It’s no longer the the wall. It’s her closet - whatever toys fits in her closet.

Jim: You’re being successful at it.

Joshua: Yeah. It’s, uh - it works. And I think it’s actually very important for kids to learn boundaries. I mean, kids who don’t learn boundaries become adults who don’t - who don’t set them. And just the reality of life is we all have time boundaries. We all have space boundaries. We have financial boundaries. And all of life is deciding what we’re going to put within our finite resources.

Jim: Sure.

Joshua: And helping them learn that early is really good for them.

Jim: How do you deal with the, uh, extended family members that really love to indulge your children because they’re the last born in the generation, they’re the cutest kids ever - of course, you agree with all that. But (laughter)...

Joshua: Yeah.

Jim: But every Christmas and every birthday, there just comes this load of, you know, wonderful things for them to enjoy.

Joshua: Yeah, of course, the bible on love languages tells us that gift-giving is a love language...

John: Yeah.

Joshua: ...Which I tend to agree with. I don’t think that the idea of humans exchanging gifts is a result of this consumeristic society, right? We’ve been doing it for years - forever. Since the beginning of time, we’ve been exchanging gifts to show love, respect and appreciation. So I don’t want to take that away. I don’t want to take the opportunity from my parents to show love to their grandkids by giving gifts. Uh, but I think that there are some principles that can be helpful - uh,quality over quantity. So if you’re going to spend $100, don’t get 10 $10 toys, but get two $50 toys. Uh, needs over wants. Kids are always changing and growing. And there are certain - getting into new hobbies and passions. And so, uh, these are some things they need that they’re getting into. Uh, experiences over possessions - you know, zoo memberships and movie tickets and dinners out, as you step on those far less than Legos.

Jim: (Laughter) Yeah, that’s right.

Joshua: And, uh, and then the fourth one is always provide gift lists whenever possible...

Jim: That’s a good idea.

Joshua: ...And being very early on it. You know, Christmas time is coming. It’s, you know, beginning of November. Like, that’s the time to be putting together the list to these - to your grandparents. Hey, here’s the things my kids are getting into. Here’s what they’re interested in. These would be some helpful gifts.

Jim: That’s a good idea.

Joshua: But when you just send them off on their own to go get whatever, you know, they’re just going to get whatever’s popular on the toy shelves.

Jim: Joshua, you’ve been at this now 10 years. And, uh, for those of us that are back to the garage analogy or, you know, history that you had, you know, that could be this weekend for me, if the weather’s right. But, you know, I’ll pull everything out of that garage. I’ll tidy it up. I’ll clean it up; wipe off all the containers for the Christmas stuff, the Easter stuff, the Thanksgiving stuff. And then I’ll pack it in as neatly and as tightly as possible so I might be able to get one car in there. How do we stay encouraged? How do we even say, OK, now’s the time to start? I heard that Focus on the Family program and that Joshua guy. What encouragement do you have for us?

Joshua: Uh, I would encourage people to consider the fact that there’s a difference between organizing stuff and minimizing stuff. Organizing is always only a temporary solution. Uh, Courtney Carver, she’s a writer. And she says it this way, if organizing was the solution, don’t you think you’d be done by now?

John: (Laughter).

Joshua:But, uh, when we just organize one thing one season, we have to do it a month later, a month later. Like, there’s no end to that. And so the solution is to remove things permanently from our life- to move them on to someone who needs them, to embrace generosity in that way, to realize that if you have to buy more stuff just to organize your stuff, then you’re...

Jim: (Laughter) Oh, man, you’re killing me.

Joshua: You’ve probably reached a saturation point that, uh...

Jim: I’m Mr. Plastic Bin. Are you kidding? I’m always down there at Wal-Mart buying plastic stuff to put stuff in.

Joshua: And I would just encourage - like, there is - there are so many life-giving benefits to owning less. I mean, just the time that we waste taking care of things, the money that we waste, the energy, the stress, the - as opposed to calm and peaceful and focused life.I just think there’s so many benefits to owning less. As people begin to see that and recognize that, I think the movement to own less continues to emergeand...

John: Yeah.

Joshua: ...Find momentum towards it.

Jim: Yeah. Joshua, you are doing a great job of making me feel, in a good way, a little guilty. So that’s good. You’re accomplishing your mission. The other concept that you had in the book that really caught my attention was don’t compare up. Compare down. What did you mean by that?

Joshua: Yeah. Uh, I’ve spent - in my years as a youth pastor, I, you know, took a number of students on missions trips and spent a lot of time in third world and developing nations. And, uh, it was very interesting to see, uh, how how people around the world live and realize when you get to know them that they’re just as happy, maybe even more happy than we are in America. And it’s always, motivated my understanding of minimalism and owning less, um, that the more we accumulate doesn’t - doesn’t bring us happiness, um, but relationships do, um, significance and impact. And I think one of the problems that we run into in this society where we’re constantly told to buy more and more and purchase more and more is that we so often begin comparing our lives to those who have more than us...

Jim: Right.

Joshua: ...Rather than comparing our lives to those who have less. And there’s - like, there’s no winners in that if we’re constantly comparing what we have compared to, uh, what someone else has.

Jim: Well, and it’s so true. You know, you look at the research today, and those who are the most discontent live in countries with the most stuff. And it is kind of interesting, in that regard. And I think you’re proving the point. And actually ancient wisdom, which is right from the lips of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, right?...

Joshua: Yeah.

Jim: ...Simplicity is a far better way than all the complexity of the stuff. And that’s so self-evident, but it’s hard for us to embrace that.

Joshua: I was having lunch with a friend one time, who was commenting that his 9-year-old son is never happy, never content. And he made this statement. He said, I can’t figure it out. My son has a bedroom full of toys. He’s got drawers full of video games. He has a whole toy room that he shares with his sister. And yet, he always wants whatever toy is being advertised on television. He said, when I grew up, we were pretty poor. And it was me and my three brothers. And I think we only had three toys total.

Jim: Right.

Joshua: But I don’t ever remember begging my parents to buy me new things or always needing the next toy that was on television. And I just don’t know what the problem is. And, um, I said, I don’t know if you’re looking for advice, butI’m going to give it to you. I said, maybe the problem is that you’ve got so much stuff for your son that he hasn’t even needed to learn contentment with what he has. When you only have three toys, and you’re not getting any more, you learn to be content. You learn to be happy. You learn to figure out how you’re going to live life within that structure. But whenever your kid wants a new toy, if you’re rushing out to buy it, he never learns how to be content or happy with what he has. And I just - I’ve come to say that our - our discontent is most evidenced in our excess - that when we have financial means, and we’re discontent, we just go buy whatever we think is going to solve it. And when it doesn’t, we just go buy the next thing rather than...

Jim: Well, and you’re...

Joshua: ...Finding contentment and happiness where we are.

Jim: And you’re onto a great truth because - and I do this from time to time. And certainly, when my boys were younger, there’s a certain return that you get from providing those things. And it becomes more about your sense of feeling good than the kid’s sense of whatever, right? So it’s a real parenting trap to derive your measure of how good a parent you are, how good you feel as a parent, by giving your kids all the stuff that they would like. And I’ve even said this. I mean, I’m better at it now, but things like, well, I didn’t have those things when I was a child. I only had the three toys. I just want to make sure my boys have more. That’s not healthy. And I’ve had to learn that myself.So Joshua, this time has flown by. And you’ve given us, as always, so much to think about.

And in a moment, and I don’t know if you know this, but we have a clip from your 11-year-old daughter. And I want to get your response to it real quick. But first, let me turn to the listeners and say, I hope that you see the value in this kind of a broadcast, uh, just to enlighten folks, to challenge each of us, including John, you and me, and everybody listening to say, OK, how are we living before the Lord when it comes to our materialism? And, uh, I hope this has touched you. And it may even change your life to say, OK, I’ve got to manage this differently - or at least a discussion between you and your spouse to say, are we doing more damage than good? That is a good place to start the discussion. And I would encourage you, if you could help us continue to get this kind of a message out, to donate to Focus on the Family. Uh, we need your help in that regard. What I would like to do is say thank you for that gift by sending you a copy ofClutterfree With Kidsand a CD of the discussion as our way of saying thank you.

John: Yeah, we appreciate your partnership so much. And you can make that donation and get the CD and book when you call us. Our number is 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. Online, you can donate and, uh, get other ideas, as well, from Joshua at focusonthefamily.com/radio.

Jim: All right, Joshua, here’s your 11-year-old daughter Alexa. Here’s her point.

Alexa Becker: I want to - I don’t need as much stuff as I think I do because, like, you think you need all this stuff, but you don’t actually use it.

Jim: You look like a proud papa. She’s caught it. She understands it at 11.

Joshua: Yeah, I, uh - I think so. There are so many values, so many important things that I want to pass on to my kids, um, and certainly, the emptiness of pursuing and accumulating material possessions is one of them. Um, yeah, that means a lot. I think that once -once we begin to remove the need for accumulating possessions from our life, a whole world opens up to us about what we can pursue and what we can accomplish,um, how we can build the kingdom of God in our lives and around us. And, yeah, to hear her catching that at age 11, that, uh, makes me very happy. Thank you - thank you for that.

Jim: Joshua Becker, author ofClutterfree With Kids, and the proof in the pudding, his daughter Alexa. Also the founder of the Becoming Minimalist website. Thanks again for being with us.

Joshua: Yeah, my pleasure. Thank you.

Closing:

John: It really has been great to have you here, Josh. And we hope that you as a listener will join us next time. We’re going to hear from Dave Carder about the importance of protecting your marriage from infidelity.

Teaser:

Dave Carder: You have to be aware of the deficits, but I’ll tell you the big ones are all about admiration and affirmation and affection. And if those begin to decline, you become vulnerable to somebody who will pay attention to you.

End of Teaser

John: On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening to Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller inviting you back as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ.

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Guest

Joshua Becker

View Bio

Joshua Becker's writings have inspired countless readers to find more life by owning fewer possessions. Based on his thoughtful and intentional approach to minimalism, he is one of the leading voices in the modern simplicity movement. In addition to being the founder and editor of Becoming Minimalist, a website dedicated to intentional living, Joshua is a Wall Street Journal and USA Today best-selling author of Simplify, The More of Less and Clutterfree With Kids. He has contributed to TIME Magazine, Christianity Today and Forbes Magazine, and has appeared on numerous television programs, including the CBS Evening News. Joshua is also the founder of The Hope Effect, a nonprofit organization changing how the world cares for orphans.