Monday, March 29, 2010

Wooden toys and the key to contentment

From time-to-time a tiny speck of a thought will persistently poke my brain, right in what could possibly be my temporal lobe (though I've never been able to remember which part does what). Semantics. The part that deals with semantics; where my theories develop like a grain of sand introduced to an oyster. Sometimes those thoughts become pearls. We'll see about this one.

Here's what got me thinking. I've noticed, recently that old fashioned, wooden toys have become incredibly hip. You've noticed it, too? No. Well you can see it here. And here. I immediately was attracted to these classic beauties, and integrated a few into my boys' vast collection. Here's what I imagine was going on in my subconscious...

(Pardon the following sentence fragments; that's just how I imagine my subconscious rolls.)
Kids in the early twentieth century, grateful for the little they had. Cherished their toys. Wooden toys. My kids trash toys, ungrateful monsters. Times were simple, simple toys. Life is nuts now. Buy simple toys for a simple life. Happy children. Smiling. Hours of imagination play.

Now, understand. These are my beloved, innocent children who have spent so little time on this earth. All of the responsibility for their ingratitude rests squarely on the shoulders of us, their parents. That said, I have seen their disregard for fast-food happy-meal prizes, for dollar-store acquisitions, for well-planned birthday gifts and now, relics of another generation of children.

So, here's that pearl; valuables, when added excessively upon lose value. Unchecked quantity may diminish quality.

It wasn't the toys that made those once-upon-a-timers content. It was the not having.
I don't know these people; The Loveland's. But we've crossed paths somehow in the blogging world, and this family is golden. Mrs. Loveland posted an explanation of how she survives in their current living-situation; she and her husband plus three young boys (with a fourth baby coming) sharing a one-room apartment over a garage. And they are so happy. Inspiring.

In the realm of grown-up toys, houses are king, so far as I'm concerned. I used to think that my boys each needed their own rooms plus a playroom. That we needed a guest room- no- guest HOUSE. Now I want two houses. With a connecting walkway or something. Huge yard. Red brick. Kids, room to run. Must. Have. Horse-stable. Wait-wait-wait.

That's what happens in an unchecked mind like mine.

Real contentment happens in a bridled heart.

Over the past year I have waved goodbye to my mansion and welcomed into my soul a small cottage to treasure. Is my cottage a wooden toy? Perhaps. But I like to think that I will hold it the way my grandmother must have held a cherished porcelain doll in her youth. I want to be happy with less. Because it's the not having everything that makes a something worth anything.


Jessica Bjorn said...

^_^ I love the Lovelands! hehe. You are an amazing woman!

Vashti said...

She is such a rock star, I love her!! She does such an awesome job managing it all (April, I mean). I really liked this post, it is so good for all of us to put things into perspective every once in a while!

Anonymous said...

A very inspiring post for me. I'm a children's psychologist and I see children playing and getting bored daily. I used to dream a lot about the huge number of toys I'll buy for my children, the toys I neved had, but lately I changed my mind. I had less in my childhood but I lived in an amazing imaginary world where anything was possible. Now, for today's children, so little is possible, depending on what they have.

Chasey and Cash said...

You nailed it on the head with that last sentence!! I've struggled this past year...adjusting to life in a smaller house where my kids share a room...But in the past month or so..(I have no idea what finally hit me)...but I'm so lucky that I even have that...and best of all, I have 2 amazing children and a man that loves me dearly to share it with!
When your life is turned upside down, you do learn to appreciate the "wooden toys" in life!