[Previous posts on this topic are this one (an introduction), Bring on the Marching Band (Use It Up,) Wear It Out, a postscript to Wear It Out, and Make It Do.)
"Bob the Tomato: Larry, how much stuff do you need to make you happy?
Larry the Cucumber [thoughtfully]: I don't know. How much stuff is there?"
"Do without" is not culturally correct these days. It's negative. It sounds like lacking, poverty, need, deprivation. Why should we ever have to do without? If we've gone without, why should our children have to?
How do we reverse this and celebrate abundance?
Think of no-limits excess. Have you seen Veggie Tales' Madame Blueberry (the source of the quote above)? After her giant spending spree at Stuff-Mart, her house collapses.
Have you ever seen those homeschooling posts that respond to "what your kids must be missing?" They usually run like this, "Yeah, we miss out on a lot...peer pressure, drugs, walking to school in freezing rain, bullying...." Well, in the same way I am happy that we do without a lot of things by doing without.
We do without a great deal of debt and its accompanying worry, fear and headaches.
We do without the need for even more storage space (and after living in this house for nine years with five people, I think we would soon be in Madame Blueberry's situation if we didn't put some limits on acquisition).
We do without a lot of the unhappiness and arguments that come when people feel like they're being shortchanged (not getting whatever it was they thought they needed, or whatever it was somebody else got). [Clarification: I don't mean the unhappiness is caused by the doing without, but by focusing on whether you have it or not. Example: I'm not particularly unhappy that I have never flown to Bermuda during March Break.]
We do without the mistrust that comes when you have to worry that your partner's bounced a cheque or run the credit card to its limit...again.
If we did not "do without," we would have to do without some other things that we value. Homeschooling--because I would have to work outside our home to pay for those extra things. Weekends together--because Mr. Fixit would be spending more hours catching up on work (at the better-paying techie job he'd probably have to find). The opportunity to share, to make do, to learn the skills of creating and fixing.
Yes, we do without--and I'm glad.