When I look back, I do not recall many of my toys. Not that I did not have toys, I had plenty, my
sister and brothers had plenty, but I never played with much of it.Most of these things were given and received with very little attentiveness. Yet, the presents from my grandmother was a totally different experience. My grandmother was a woman of few words, but a strong personality. She very seldom gave gifts, and when she did, she gave me things based on observations about who I was, what I needed and what I could really use. I remember a skipping rope made of hemp; it had a particular scent, and I can still remember the coarseness and the strength in that rope. I could use it for so many things and for a long, long time. I never considered whether it was costly or not, or whether I should keep it or not. This gift was given with acuity and consciousness, and she just knew what I could really use, then and there.This experience has stayed with me
, and I have tried to use it when it comes to my own 3 children, and now my grandchild. I try to ask myself each time I am about to buy something for them: Why do I buy this?
Is it for my own satisfaction, or is it a need for this child – right now?As consumers, it is so easy just to buy without consideration. However, the child itself needs so very little, and it is so good at using what surrounds it, if we let it: kitchen stuff or whatever is nearby. Many ‘ordinary’ things in a home can easily be transformed into something else in the hands of small children, because of their open-minded approach to life as well as their imagination.Yet, many children often have one or two truly beloved things. Maybe a little 4 year old girl will always bring her beloved doll or bear to the tea parties on the floor.If we seek to prioritize to give our children (or grand children) fewer
toys, and at the same time give presents and things with greater thoughtfulness and care, we can help our children to create caring relationships to their toys and other things as well.By being aware of why we give our children toys and what we buy for them, we show that relating to the world around us matters.
How we treat things as meaningful vs. replaceable matters, and this is why- as you have often heard me say: being a rolemodel does take a lot of consciousness! But it also makes life itself feel more meaningful, and even more joyful.
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I wish you a great time with the children in your life.
and Anna on the side.
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