I have had this topic on my heart for a while and I have finally found the words to share it.
A while back we were doing a Facetime call with friends and the children were sharing some of their favourite toys. My son likes to create all sorts of amazing things with blocks and can visualise them in ways I can only dream of. On this day, our friends were sharing their latest toy purchase. It was very cool and can only be described as a little boys dream toy! Except, my son doesn’t have one. While our friends were proudly sharing all the features of the toys, my son began to enthusiastically and innocently, share his blocks in return. My son was manipulating the blocks to represent the same type of thing that his friend’s toy was. If his toy could make noise, then my son made noises with his mouth. If his toy transformed, then my son’s toy could morph too. If his toy was blue and green, then my son found blue and green blocks to replicate it.
In that moment I felt my heart break into a million pieces. I felt as though my son was at a disadvantage by not having that same amazing toy. I felt like I had let him down. Then within a split second, my heart beamed with pride. I realised that my son has such a wild and spectacular imagination, that he didn’t feel the disadvantage I thought he had. He was proud of his ideas and also excited to be with sharing a moment with his friend. His innocence and peace taught me the most valuable lesson. We are enough and we have enough.
In the picture below you can see that L has used his road pieces to make a great scene. He absolutely loves this resource and it never gets removed from our playroom when we do our regular rotations.
Then one day, after the Facetime call with friends, while busily playing and creating, L realized that he needed more pieces to complete his road. He had a plan in his mind and wanted so badly to execute it. But he had run out. After a brief chat about it, I apologized that he didn’t have anymore pieces and asked him how he could solve his problem. Within a moment, he was already cutting up paper into pieces of road and adding them to his scene.
The parts he made are all different shapes and sizes and have been used over and over again for the entire year.
These two situations got us reflecting. When we buy the “extra stuff,” we take away our children’s potential opportunities to think critically and ceatively, to solve problems; and to grow their imaginations. These are key foundational skills for learning and life. If we bought L more road pieces, then he wouldn’t have thought to create his own. He wouldn’t have planned, measured, cut, scrapped and cut again. Would his creation and my photo be more “Insta worthy?” Probably. But is that the goal? NEVER!
Do I wish I had the money and space for more resources for my kids? Sure, sometimes I do. Do I get swayed by the things I see here on Insta? Sure do. I am a human mum in the 21st century. But our intentions as parents need to be clear and firm. We really believe in the abundant benefits of a “less is more” philosophy and in order to execute that properly, we need to stick to it with a sense of peace and fortitude. By making sure the boys don’t get every little thing I spot on the Gram, or in our friend’s playroom, we teach them about resilience, peace and gratitude. We teach them about sustainable and conscious consuming. We teach them about finances. And we encourage them to use their minds in the most creative ways.
If you have felt a sense of pressure to buy all the extra parts, the add ons, the expensive open ended toys, the wooden resources or the gadgets then just know that you are not alone. I have felt it too. In our house, we own what we can and we have carefully considered our choices. We don’t own everything, and we never will. But we believe that our boys have plenty. We have some expensive and well sought after resources and we have some cheapies too. Everything in our playroom has been acquired with careful consideration and I encourage you to do the same.
Our children aren’t missing out on anything, and neither are yours. Make your choices with intention and remember, that by buying them less, you just may be helping them grow and develop in ways you never thought of.
Thanks for reading.
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