Saturday, September 09, 2006

Too much stuff

Last night we had some friends over for dinner. They're a family from Moldova, and they're great people. But you should have seen their eyes when they saw the playroom! Their 9-yr old daughter was amazed. I don't think she'd ever seen so many toys in one place. They all mentioned, numerous times, that they didn't have those sort of things growing up. All the batteries, all the many many toys. They were pretty shocked. And to think about it, maybe we should be too. Maybe we shouldn't have so many toys that both kids can spend an entire day inside without playing with the same toy twice, and without getting bored.

It seems that our kids should have to use their imagination more. And have a strong desire to go outside or find friends to play with, rather than actually wanting to stay inside all day and play with their toys. Am I right? Or maybe I'm just crazy.

What does it do to my kids to have that many toys? Well, they get bored when they don't have lots of toys around, because they aren't used to using their imaginations. They expect to always have lots of toys, and they take them for granted. Not good. They'd rather spend a day playing with toys instead of doing other things. Of course, the good part is that my kids can pretty much entertain themselves while I cook dinner or sweep the floor (or write my blog...). It sure does make my day easier. But that's not really what parenting is all about.

And what kind of example do I set for them? I have 3 strollers, at least 5 diaper bags, more shoes than I'd like to count, the list goes on. What would it take to ensure that my kids aren't materialistic? It starts with me and Eugene. We have to curb our spending habits and learn to go without a little more frequently. And then, we have to stop anticipating our kids' every desire and fulfilling before they even have a chance to ask. There's something about a sense of desire. I met a 6-yr old once who couldn't name anything she wanted for Christmas, because she already had everything she wanted. That's not because she was content with what she had, it was because her house was full from top to bottom with all the things she could ever ask for.

I think I need to set better limits for Sofia. It's time to let the word "no" flow a little more, and put a reign on "yes," "maybe," and "next time." It's also time to evaluate my purchases a bit more discerningly.


Arlyn said...

*I am visiting with SAHMs.* I agree that we have too much stuff for our kids. I usually buy something (often from the thrift store), thinking it will be a great activity to use WITH the kids. What really happens is that I kick it around the house for a couple of months and then spend two more months throwing it away, piece by piece! Unfortunately, I don't think I can simplify as much as they need...they don't like toys crafted from corn husks! :)

kcozonac said...

So true! Corn husks - no fun! Second hand toys - fun! Battery operated toys - great fun (for 3 whole minutes)! Wow, if only I could rid my house of all battery operated toys...