Today is TV-free Sunday in our house, so I’ve had plenty of time to observe my kids playing together. I recently read that siblings under the age of 7 typically get into 3-4 quarrels every hour. I’ll admit that mine do squabble their fair share, but it has been very gratifying watching them develop their relationship and focus on each other instead of whatever distraction is flickering across the screen.
One of the most important lessons I am learning as a mother lately is that children don’t need all the trendy toys and gadgets that we, as parents, feel compelled to buy them. We love our children and want to provide them with every comfort, luxury, and opportunity we can. Sometimes we forget that, even more than the latest doll, car, or electronic gizmo, they thrive from simply being exposed to life’s simple pleasures. Take, for example, what we did yesterday. It was a mild day, sunny, high in the 40s, so we decided to go for a walk at a local park. My girls giggled and squealed as they jumped and splashed in puddles, ran down the path, and held my hand and my husband’s. We were all so happy, and there were no cell phones, televisions, computers, or toys around.
I’ve been trying to pare down my children’s toy collection the last few weeks, and I’ve made a startling discovery. The less toys they have, the more fun they seem to have. Perhaps when kids have too many options, they get overwhelmed and give up selecting something. The most fun mine have had lately has been with a few blankets forming a fort and a set of crayons and paper.
A friend of mine mentioned today that we are often so bombarded by information, we are unable to discern the truths in life. I couldn’t agree more. The truth is, the things we have are simply that–things. They will never become a part of us. But the experiences we have with those we love…those make us who we are.