Recently, I've been wondering about toys. Do my children have enough toys? Sometimes when I go over to a friend's house, I wonder. All of the newest gadgets and novelties, lined up ready for playing. My oldest, Benjamin has been around and "collecting" toys for nearly 10 years (in May). As they break I sift through them and try to keep them "fresh". We have the wooden train set, the electric train, the Lego's, the blocks, dress-up stuff, puzzles, matchbox cars, games, learning games, chess, microscope and other scientific things for Benjamin . . . When people ask what my children need for gifts (birthdays and holidays) I am usually at a loss. We haven't gone down the video game route: the Wee, PlayStation or GameBoy.
Then, on Monday when I had both boys at home, I watched them play. Most of their "play" is inventive and imaginative. Maybe it involves a few cars, but not on a track. A ball, but not in a net. We have had plenty of snow to play in, so I sent them out to do a little shoveling (you know how jobs go for kids, it's the effort that counts) and to fetch a load of wood on their sleds. They had more fun. In short order they were sledding around the yard. And after lunch we went outside again to build snow forts.
All day long, we didn't turn on the television or play video games (that stands to reason, since we don't have any). Sometimes I wonder (when my boys were bickering about who was or wasn't doing their job) if parents today don't want to do the work involved in good parenting. At one point, early in the day, I thought "Gee, it would be so easy to just plunk them in front of THE BOX." But, I didn't, and I think my boys are better for it. We had such a blast building "igloos" at the entrance to our driveway where the snow piled high from passing plows and Victor's shoveling. One for each boy.
I joked that they should spend the night out in their igloos. That was a bad idea. They both jumped at the chance and I had to explain that I was just kidding, and that we would need lots of leather, fur, wool and fire to get through the night without freezing.
With too many toys, video games, computer games and television -- what's the incentive for trudging out of doors to let your imagination run wild?