Monday, September 20, 2010

How big are your closets?

I wouldn't say this is a rant, but you might notice a little soapbox action. Coffee assisted reading advised.

I am not a big fan of stuff. What can I say, it piles up and takes away from the lovely things I do have and want to be able to notice. Stuff makes me feel heavier. Stuff makes our kids unappreciative of what they have. Stuff makes me wonder if we got something at the expense of someone else who was really in need. Stuff is the enemy in our house.

Having four darlin's, you get a lot of toys. This goes with the territory. But in truth, let me share what my kids really like. Your time. Your attention. Your affection. A nice chase around the kitchen. A good rolling around in the grass outside. A walk at dusk to check out the critters and the trees and the shadows. My little ones are a bit sheltered. I have been nursing or pregnant for seven years and as a result we haven't been out much. So when my children get out, it's to the bank, to mass, to the grocery and the like. They think of these outings as field trips. I try to encourage the illusion by turning each errand into a learning experience, encouraging curiosity and wonder in what adults have come to consider mundane. I figure in my own little "noggin" that if they can learn to look forward to and enjoy the basics of life, they'll more often than not be a in a state of happiness. Now, I'm not crazy. My children know about toys and they make little wishes for Christmas and their birthdays but we try to keep it reasonable. I try to educate them on the real point of a commercial having a little bit of advertising background myself. I am trying to arm them against the stuff they would otherwise innocently accumulate once the decision really is theirs. Christmas comes but once a year, and it's lovely to get a sweet gift from someone you love, but I feel driven to instill in my darlin's, even at this young age that the gift is Christ. The three gifts were for Him. The best gifts are dinners and get-togethers with family and friends. The most needed gift is something bought and wrapped for the Angel Tree and when they are older, serving a meal at the soup kitchen. We talk a lot about "the budget" with them and how the person who bought that gift used money out of their budget to buy it for them. I want to encourage gratefulness. If I don't start now, the monster that is commercialism will turn them into little ingrates with an insatiable appetite for getting the latest and greatest thing. I want my children to learn to "wait for it" and to learn most of all to appreciate rather than accumulate.

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