People say that having kids breeds clutter.
People say kids make it difficult to embrace minimalism and simplicity.
I’ve also noticed that the majority of minimalists on the web are single – with no kids.
Why is that?
It is true that with kids comes stuff, but I think that there is also more opportunity to reevaluate values, and I believe that when you better know your values, you have more motivation for simplicity then you’d have without kids.
Is it HARDER to be a minimalist with kids? Yes! (What on earth is EASIER with kids?)
BUT it is also much more rewarding to be a minimalist with kids. You learn to cut away, cut away, cut away until you have only the valuable to pass on – only your faith, only your dreams and not all the excess that you wasted years pursuing.
And you hope they won’t lose the same time and energy on the trivial. You hope they will be happier, more content, more focused, and more mature as they learn what is necessary – and what is simply not.
This week I’ve been learning again what it is important – and what is not.
3 years ago my son was given a set of 24 mega blocks, but with 3 kids sharing the set, the pieces were fought over so much that I was ready to toss the whole set!
But my mom came across a couple affordable matching sets at Goodwill, and I gratefully accepted them.
However, as I evaluated where on earth to stash the now overflowing tote of mega blocks in our 10X10 guest room/playroom, I wondered what I’d been thinking
After mentioning the dilemma to my husband, he asked why the answer to the kids’ fighting problem was to get more toys rather then deal with their bad attitudes.
And sure enough – after 20 minutes of elation they were fighting over the mega blocks again. (Both girls wanted all the pink, and the boy wanted to keep the little mega block man to himself – if you were wondering about the nitty gritty details.)
It caused me to step back and evaluate – again.
Did I want kids to build mega block towers or kids who were willing to share and wait their turn?
Did I want the convenience of 20 minutes to make supper in peace or kids who were content to make something out of our 24 former pieces?
I realized that too often my answer to character problems had been to purchase items to make the problem ‘go away’ rather then deal with the heart of the issue.
- A child who kept stealing her brother’s harmonica was ‘rewarded’ the following holiday with a harmonica of her own because I was tired of having to punish her and deal with his frustration.
-A child who wouldn’t share the train set cars was ‘rewarded’ when I just picked up a couple more train set cars because I was tired of the shrieks and tears every time they played trains.
Like any parent, I love my kids, but it takes a tough love to stop what you’re doing, and help them to be content (37+ times a day).
For now, we’re keeping the big box in the play room, but I’m slowly learning my lesson. True love for my children does not come in the form of a new toy or set, and helping them enter life as content, joyful adults will be far better then me getting a little more done around the house during the few minutes I’ve bought for myself while they play with a new set or game.