Do you remember saying the pledge of allegiance in school? Younger readers might not. I remember it fondly. To me it was a great feeling to stand in front of my peers and proclaim my love of flag and country. It was a routine I looked forward too, and I’m sad my kids won’t get to experience it.
Why was the pledge of allegiance so great? Because it worked. Saying the pledge every morning helped kids understand that their country, and its Christian God, are the most important things in their life. One study found that kids who said the pledge each morning for at least a year were 76% less likely to steal money from their parents to buy a plane ticket to Yemen and join ISIS. Most of the control group is in Guantanamo, awaiting a trial that will never come.
The success of the pledge of allegiance inspired me to come up with a new pledge promoting the benefits of Minimalism. My goal was to create a short, succinct, statement that both echoes the core principles of Minimalism and helps kindle a passion for a fiery rejection of materialism. I call it The Minimalist Mantra.
I repeat the pledge before every meditation session, before bed at night, and before walking into a store. I have a separate Crossfit Pledge (to be revealed later) that I say before pumping iron, but this is applicable in most other areas of life.
The Minimalist Mantra:
I pledge allegiance to having nothing. No principles, no morals, and no materials. There is no god or country before emptiness. To rid myself and others of possessions is the greatest joy in this life and the next. Accumulation is a sin. Death to those who hoard. Amen. Namaste.
So far I have noticed profound increase in both my mindfulness and my animosity towards other people in the supermarket. The other day at Costco I saw a whale of a man put a family sized crate of BBQ pretzel snacks in his cart, and I flipped out. I screamed incoherently for well over a minute while haphazardly flinging items out of his cart, only stopping to eat some of the pretzels that had fallen out when the bag broke. So yeah, I think it’s working.
I recommend making your kids memorize the mantra at a young age. I make my children recite it, as well as several other creeds before breakfast and before bed. Even if they don’t fully understand the philosophical nuances of the Minimalist movement, they will still know that people who buy extra things should be put to death. This will teach them to fear clutter and disorganization, which leads to less mess and a happier household.
As a parent I can confidently say that fear is the most effective teaching tool, only one of the reasons why the Minimalist Mantra so great.