Shannon Philpott-Sanders

Writing, Reflecting, Teaching, Parenting

Is Bigger Better? Not if You Give a Damn

100_0939My son is a huge fan of Legos and spends days on end building high-tech airplanes, robotic creatures, and sky scrapers. He never gets tired of building, but he gets frustrated when he struggles to top his previous creation with something bigger and better.

 Apparently, in his mind, bigger is better.

 The more extravagant the construction, the more pleased he is with himself. For example, today’s creation was a two-story Lego mansion equipped with a big screen TV.

 While I encourage his creativity and look forward to each new piece he adds to the collection – a collection that is overpowering his room – I wonder if I should encourage the “bigger is better” philosophy.

 In today’s world, the bigger is better philosophy often leads to greed and the mindset that greed is good. I have taught my kids that greed is not an attractive trait and continually remind them that they are very fortunate to have a roof over their heads, shoes on their feet, and a colorful collection of clothes to warm their bodies.

 But, as most kids do, they’ve learned to tune out mom when I begin this lecture, leading to my usual threat: “Someday, I’m going to take you to a third world country so that you can see the fortunes that you truly have.”

 Today, I took them to Africa … sort of. I logged in to the Give a Damn Project, a group of activists and film documentary makers on a quest to explore poverty in Africa, living on a $1 a day. I have been chronicling this project from its beginning, partly because one of my former students is involved and currently still in Africa, but also because I do give a damn.

 Initially, my kids giggled at the fact that I said “damn,” but after watching the trailer video, they began asking questions and put down the Legos, the Nintendo DS games, and turned off the TV.

 They saw firsthand that bigger is not better and that there are people in this world who do not have an ounce of greed, only an ounce of hope. Today, my kids gave a damn and I couldn’t be more proud.

 For more information about the Give a Damn Documentary project, log on to


– Shannon Philpott
Blog Entry: Sept. 20, 2009

 © Shannon Philpott, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shannon Philpott and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


September 20, 2009 - Posted by | Blog, Parenting, Reflecting | , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. That’s just the American way Shannon, that bigger is better, look at the new Walmarts! Anyway, what separates you from the rest is that you educate your kids on the happenings of the world, which is more than I can say for most kids today.

    Comment by John Braddock | October 7, 2009 | Reply

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