A few weeks ago, my kids rooms looked something like this a toy war zone. It also sounded like it from time to time…well, who am I kidding? It sounded like it much of the time! Apparently a plethora of toys does not equal compliant, kind, and joyful children. Who knew?
I have 3 children, under the age of 5 right now. 4, 3, and 10 months. I did the math and their collection of toys was growing at a rate of at least 120 toys per year. (20 new toys per child, per birthday and Christmas, equates to at least 40 new toys, per child in a year…multiply by three, and voila!)
THAT. IS. RIDICULOUS.
There are children starving, literally to death, in other parts of the world, and what are we doing in America? Oh, that’s right, trying to keep up with the Jones’ and dragging our kids along with us. Stuff, stuff, and MORE stuff. Really…?
Here is what we discovered in our kids’ rooms being covered in toys:
1) They did not appreciate a single thing. Why appreciate one thing, when you have ten more to replace it?
2) They did not get along. Too many toys = much chaos. You might think that many toys eliminates arguing because there are so many choices, right? Wrong. There is no sense of giving and sharing. There is, however, a sense of entitlement and stinginess.
3) When asked to clean their rooms, they looked at me like I had just asked them to climb Mt. Everest in flip flops and with a broken leg. Let’s be real, here. When I looked at their room, it overwhelmed ME. Imagine how it looked to a 4 year old!
So, pretty much, here is what went down:
Oh, yeah. It happened.
We kept what actually got played with; Legos & blocks. Baby doll & accessories. Books. Hot wheels. Baby toys. Dress up items. One or two other items that are actually used and added as recently as Christmas. Compared to the previous stash, it was a significant decrease.
Regrets so far? Not a single one.
At least, now, if they get out every single toy in their rooms, the clean up is still minimal and not overwhelming to them or me. I certainly do not miss all of the little toys that were, essentially, fill toys! They had no purpose, except to fill spaces! Everything has its place and it is amazing.
Not only is it easier on me and them, but I believe that by reducing some distractions and excess, we are more able to teach and train our children in Christ.
“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being in one spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…” -Philippians 2:1-5
“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life–in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.” -Philippians 2:14-16
This is our ultimate goal for our children. We want them to love the Lord and seek to serve Him with their lives. Serving themselves is fruitless and selfish. The same for us, as parents and as Christians! Excess can be harmful to our walk. I’m not saying that having anything for ourselves is terribly awful, but our culture teaches us to keep piling food on our plates, simply because it is there. It is an ‘all about ourselves‘ culture.
“For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ…” -Philippians 3:18-20
We are nowhere where we want to be as a family, and as individuals, but this was a start in simplifying some things in our home. Simple is good. Simple allows room for God to work.
“I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 3:13-14
It is a journey and we should be constantly being propelled forward. This is just one area where we are being propelled as a family. It is not about just bettering ourselves, but it is more about freeing ourselves up for the Lord’s work. Will you join us in simplifying? Would you share with me about your journey? I would love to know how the Lord is working in your lives as well!