Thursday, June 26, 2008

If less is more, what is more and how much is less enough?

I think we need less. Well, I know we need less, question is how much less is less enough? We've been sorting through toys lately and realizing many of the toys the kids have (with which they were bombarded with at the holidays) don't meet our expectations of acceptable toys. They limit the imagination, are creatively useless, and promote attitudes and behaviors we don't desire our kids to mimic.

A lot of these toys are simply mainstream fads. Now I know when I was a little kid I had some "fad" toys, anyone remember She-ra? Teddy Ruxpin? or how about good ol' Smurfs? Some of the toys of my childhood (early-mid '80's) are making a come back like Strawberry Shortcake and Care Bears. Though these toys and representative movies, to me have less than I remember as a kid.

Sure, society has taken a huge turn towards educationalizing (is that a word?) just about everything out there which can be good but where does creativity come to play? It seems that if it's not almost purely educational it's void of any educationalness (I should start my own dictionary here, or maybe buy one...) , some even morally inept.

I honestly was just flabbergasted over some of the attitudes and behaviors I've seen in these "kiddie" movies. Name calling, bulling and rude manners with no follow-up lesson or correction to the offenses. Some parents may overlook these as just being "entertaining" or an outlet for children as an escape from learning or just being plain fun.

For me, it's much more than that. I find that my children's behavior can be reflective of the outlets I give them whether media or toys. They're not mini-mimics but they are developing a sense of self and experiment with attitudes and personalities while searching for their own.

So, getting off my soap-box and back to less is more...Where do we draw the line? We recently had an excavation of the playroom and unearthed about 20 more Barbie and Barbie type toys than I thought we had, the majority of which were naked. This just wasn't kosher for me. Boxes upon boxes of Barbie's so we (make that I) donated them. I would hate for them to end up in a landfill but keeping such exorbitant levels of toys that really have no significant value creating and developing a childhood just didn't sit right with me.

We're down to one box of Barbie's now and the kids really haven't even noticed. I'm hoping by the holidays we're down to none and the toys I plan to make them would replace these more insignificant ones.

Now comes the daunting task of blending old with new. My son is so technically savvy it will be a challenge melding his desire for technology and mine for simplicity.

1 comment:

Steph said...

Okay, I have a book for you.

Living Simply with Children: A Voluntary Simplicity Guide for Moms, Dads, and Kids Who Want to Reclaim the Bliss of Childhood and the Joy of Parenting
by Marie Sherlock

I got it as a gift, haven't finished it yet but love it so far. SO ready to implement the philosophy.
I think you'd like it.