From time to time, I open up the contents of my childrens lunch box to find a great article from their teacher.
This one was from my son’s early childhood teacher, entitled TOYS ARE NOT US by Thomas Poplawski.
These articles are a great reminder for me, and so helpful in supporting me to be a more conscious Waldorf parent because… god knows I cheat (I know my childrens teachers know I cheat too). I think they also realize that to be a parent in today’s modern world AND a dedicated and completely infallible Waldorf parent is very, very difficult.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget things like the article points out; like reminding us that toys are not a substitute for spending time with our children, or using toys, digital gagets, and TV to occupy them while we get “our time”. I look around my house and realize that there would be a lot more “room” for creativity with LESS. That filling rooms and closets with distractions for my children’s play things might just be undermining their creativity altogether. Allowing more outside time with simple tools will make for satisfying play.
As a family, I’d like to teach my children that “less is more” and to grow up with a consciousness about the difference of NEED VS. WANT, and that feeding a belief that they can find satisfaction with “stuff” will only serve to foster a less desired attitude about living sustainably, and simply in an increasingly complex world.
When I was a kid I had very few toys. The basement was the place for us to “play” if it rained, and open ended toys were what we had access to: blocks, books, blankets for forts, a baby doll and some trucks and cars. Birthday’s were “special” because the gifts were few, and very modest. Having owned a children’s toy store, it was very easy for me to bring home “extras” that never seemed to be a substitute for quality time, nor did they provide much lasting play value. I’ll admit I’m human, and I too get swept up with the belief that more = better. It’s time to really tidy up, and as the school year comes to a close, I look forward to releasing the grip on things I’ve continued to stock-pile with a huge summer yard sale and donation bin. I’m done fooling myself that those items should take up valuable real-estate in the landscape of our lives and home.