One thing I learned over the last couple of years is that stuff doesn’t matter. Clinging to material possessions gives you only a burden. That doesn’t mean I don’t like to have nice stuff around me. It means I learned how to enjoy them while I have them, and being able to let them go when it’s time to do so.
As I mentioned, I learned that in last years, and I’ll be 30 in a month. It’s not right to expect from kids they’ll grab my newly accomplished insight. They are still little, and they have the right to claim: “That’s mine!” I try to learn them, that there are more important things in life than to own objects. It’s not fun to play if you don’t have a company to play with. At least it’s not fun for long.
The other day we were at the playground. I was sitting on a bench while my kids played with other kids. At some point, they came running towards me shining with happiness.
“Mommy, mommy, that boy gave us his candy,” they were shouting while pointing with a finger to a generous kid.
“That’s nice! How do you feel about it?” I asked.
They looked at me in confusion: “We are happy, of course.”
“But that boy didn’t have to give you anything. Candies are his. He could eat them on his own. He would have more of them, if he wasn’t sharing,” I said.
They stared at me with a puzzled look: “Yeah, but he was nice.”
“Exactly, he was nice, and he made you happy by giving something of his to you.”
I don’t know if they got it because they just shook their heads like ‘whatever’ and ran back to play.
A couple of days later, we were playing on a playground again, and they met a girl. She was interested in Erik’s sword. He had three of them with him, so it wasn’t such a big deal to lend one to Lejla and one to this girl. That way they were able to play pirates together. A girl also let Erik play with her dragons. Her mother told me, she likes swords and dragons. She has difficulties to play with girly girls. When it was time to go home, we realized that this is a perfect opportunity to donate a toy. We have this project now, to find people who need stuff we own so we can give it to them. We explained to Lejla and Erik they’ll have a backpack when we go, and there won’t be a limitless place to store toys. They will have to choose which one to keep. Erik already knows which sword he’ll take. It was excellent opportunity to make someone happy like they were the other day when they got candy. We renewed the situation to Erik. It’s much better if he leaves his sword with someone who also appreciates it, then to put it in the garbage. He wasn’t pleased with it, but he still decided that it’s better to give it to the girl. He had to overcome his resistance. But when he finally handed it over, he looked pleased. When you see someone happy because of receiving, giving doesn’t seem so bad anymore.
Today was the day when we gave a big box of toys to the kindergarten. While I was packing it, kids were asking me: “Why are you giving this away?”
“Because we are leaving and we cannot take everything with us. We have to give it somewhere,” was my answer for the tenth time already.
Leo sometimes asks them: “Would you prefer to stay here and keep all these toys?”
“Noooo, I want to see everything! I want to go to the volcano and to sail a ship, and find a treasure, and see weird animals, and…” is their answer.
They slowly started to understand that everything has its price to pay. We all want to experience new daring challenges, and it’s much easier to do it without heavy luggage. I want them to realize; they will always be able to obtain things they want the most. They are not losing; they are exchanging.