All kids start out brilliant. Not in a “Mother, I’ve decided to engineer a simple jet pack instead of crawling around on my hands and knees all day” kind of way, but in a more subtle way. Little kids are brilliant because they haven’t been corrupted yet. They are still captivated with the simple things in life. Let me explain.
My son is about 9 months old now. Before he was born we had a baby shower…actually we had two baby showers (different towns). At that shower, our friends and family displayed their generosity over and over again with clothes, toys, and baby “essentials” like bibs and boppy pillows. It was your normal American baby shower. We ended up with tons of make-you-say-awwww goodies meant for our little one.
Flash ahead to today and you’ll see that Landry has 6 or 7 super cute stuffed animals, plenty of brightly colored plastic toys, a “twist and fold gym“, and an “entertain and grow saucer” that I call his space shuttle because he can sit in the seat provided and push buttons, pull levers, and chew on anything he pleases. By the way, this is after we got rid of 25% of everything we owned.
The point is…he has plenty of stuff to do. Stuff that was purchased by people who love him for the expressed purpose of giving him joy. You know what he plays with?
My Son’s 3 Favorite “Toys” Are:
1. Daddy’s sweatshirt string (while I’m wearing the sweatshirt)
There is nothing that holds his interest better than the drawstring on my hooded sweatshirt. He once played with it for 45 minutes straight without making as much as a peep. Anyone with a baby knows that this is a miracle and the location where it occurred should now be deemed a holy site.
He mostly enjoys chewing on it, using it like a drum on anything that will make noise, and occasionally hitting himself in the head. I, too, always had an affinity for baking spoons growing up, but only when they had chocolate frosting on them.
3. His left shoe (or his right – he’s not picky)
I’m not sure what it is about shoes, but the kid’s got a thing for them. Probably because when you’re crawling around on the floor all day, you tend to see a lot of shoes. If we’re not sure what toy to give him to keep him happy, we always reach for one of his shoes.
Shiny and New
When it comes right down to it, the $60 “space shuttle” doesn’t hold a candle to the old, worn, wooden spoon.
So, here’s where I could go on a mini-rant about how much money we spend on young children who don’t know any better. But I’ll spare you the lecture.
Or I could wax poetically about the importance of teaching your children to be appreciative of what they have instead of always wanting more. But I’ll save that for a later date.
Instead, I want to bring it back to us - the grown ups. Let’s use this as a reminder that shiny and new isn’t always the way to go.
The simple life has been romanticized over and over again in hundreds of stories, movies, and songs. Why? Because deep down we all yearn for the peace, freedom, and pace that simplicity brings. So, why do our lives continue to get more complex and cluttered? Because we’re told that it will help. This product will make you better looking. That one will bring you joy. This one will make your life more convenient. Ahh, the irony.
You and I already have everything we need in order to enjoy an exciting, purposeful, and happy life. A new app, better car, bigger house, and finer china won’t bring us any closer to a satisfied life. Contentment and joy can’t be bought or found. You already have all the tools you need. Hold onto your faith, your family, and your friends and be willing to let the rest go. Let’s not make life more complex than it needs to be. There’s something to be said for simplicity.
My son taught me that.