Our home is overrun with toys. My children have commandeered most rooms in our house with their ridiculous number of trucks, cars, LEGOs, clothes and more. Even our bedroom has become a casualty.
There are the obnoxiously loud toys, the puzzles that lose pieces within minutes, and, an entire fleet of ride-on toys, indoor and out. It overwhelms me. There is too much. But, slopping through it all is a feat in itself.
Up until this point, toys have only been cleaned out in the secrecy of night, and then subtly donated while the boys were at school. The few times I actually tried to pick through toys in their presence, they immediately latched on to anything that landed in the box. You know that block sorter that hasn’t been touched in two years? Yeah. They can’t live without it. And, that police car that only has two wheels, one door and a sickly-sounding siren? How could I even consider dumping that in the trash?
So, when I decided to make our Act of Kindness today about giving to others AND doing it with a happy heart, my expectations were a bit low. “Mine” is a popular word around these parts, and “Share” usually only applies to germs. To start off small, I asked the boys to each pick one toy that we could send to a child that didn’t have as much as them (and, a single Matchbox car did not count). After talking about what it meant to donate (No, Everett. Not donuts.) and being grateful, I was shocked how eagerly Austin began picking toys to give. For fear that he didn’t fully comprehend the idea here, I reiterated that we were giving them to another child and we would no longer have them in our home. Still cheerful, he selected a spaceship, while Everett chose a stuffed animal from his mass pile. I applauded their selections and dropped them in with the rest of our donation lot.
As I began loading boxes into the car, I noticed Austin eyeing the spaceship. He looked at me, and I knew he had changed his mind.
“Um, Momma. I think I want to play with my spaceship,” he said.
I asked him if he was sure, and he was. Very sure. But, he would have to choose another toy to give away. Without hesitation, he replaced it with a tractor and a dump truck. Two for one. I guess he really did want that spaceship.
Before any other substitutions could be made, we drove to the local family services center. Along the way, I fielded more questions from the kids about what it means to donate. Of course, all Everett heard was “donut” so I listened to him chanting that on repeat for the duration of the drive. But, Austin seemed genuinely interested.
I’m not going to lie. This is about the time I was congratulating myself on a job well done teaching my children a valuable life lesson, and, at least one of them seemed to embrace the concept. Success. I was ready to pat myself on the back. As we drove away, Austin’s little voice traveled through the car. “Are we going to buy new toys now?” **Smack my head**
Maybe we don’t quite understand what just happened. But, hey, it’s a start. Let’s try this again.