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'Cookie Monster!' yells my 2 year old straining to clamor out of the shopping trolley. Busted. Rushing through Target, I was hoping she wouldn't notice the toy aisle. Cookie Monster beckons to her so I do what any mother may do, I reach in my handbag and try to distract her with Elmo stickers. Needless to say, this isn't good enough, and the whole time in Target she whines for Cookie Monster. I'm tempted to give in to her and buy her the plush blue toy, but I know she doesn't need it.
My daughter has way too many toys. I don't know how it started. One doll turned into five dolls. To my defense, four were gifts. However, less is more. I was reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin in which the author finds happiness via decluttering. Rubin relates an anecdote in which a four-year-old boy loved a blue toy car and took it everywhere he went. His grandmother lovingly gave him ten more toy cars upon which the little boy stopped playing with his cars altogether. Puzzled, she asked him to why to which he said he couldn't love lots of cars!
We tend to give our children too many gifts, and buy them too many toys. Wants become needs and we may look up to see a family room strewn with toys and clutter and wonder what happened! When we give our children less, they tend to appreciate what they do have. For example, my daughter has only one Elmo toy, and she tends to appreciate this one Elmo. If she had five Elmos, she might not appreciate the one toy that she does have.
'Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without' is one mom's motto who tries to gift her children with experiences rather than products. Katy Wolk-Stanley's calls herself the The Non-Consumer Advocate and she blogs about saving money at http://thenonconsumeradvocate.com. I love her concept and think we should try this more! Rather than going out to buy our child a latest toy, we should try to take them places, savor moments, build experiences. For example, rather than buying her son the latest gadgets, she gifted her high school son with a trip to Japan. Needless to say, this son's experiences were priceless. Furthermore, by buying less and enjoying more, we can teach our children how to effectively save and value money, and hopefully teach them life skills. Perhaps if we also savor our one blue toy car, rather than rushing out to buy ten more, maybe we too can enjoy not only our one car, but also life to the fullest.
I am a freelance writer and photographer who loves to doodle, write about, and capture the little unnoticeable things in life. Through my art medium of pencils, paint, potting soil, and pixels, I thrive. I am also a teacher and have taught 2nd grade in Fulton County Schools in Atlanta, Georgia for 4 years. I am currently a Stay-At-Home-Mom to a ___ month old toddler(she was born in June 2010---you can do the math!) who is exploring my creative outlet via the aforementioned 4 P's on www.reemfaruqi.com.
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