Something has to be done about all the toys in my home. My four-year-old son, the firstborn grandchild on both sides of the family, has been showered with more knick-knacks, stuffed animals, action figures, and vehicles than properly belong in a full-blown day care center. It’s ridiculous, and set to get worse.
He now has a newborn baby brother, a fresh magnet for gifts on every holiday, birthday, and just-because. Between the two of them, I’m going to have to rent out a storage locker to keep from being displaced.
As problems go, having too many toys certainly falls into the First World category. Surely, there exist far too many children who never get much of anything. Nevertheless, as a father, I would sometimes prefer a bit of want if only to inculcate a sense of value in my son’s developing mind.
The worst part is not that he has been given so much, but that he consistently wants more. He has come to associate going to the store with an opportunity to get something new. When with me, such moments become lessons in browsing and delayed gratification. He can look all he wants, but won’t be taking anything home. Besides, where would he put it? His toy room – let’s just pause to consider the fact that we have a room dedicated to toys – looks like a store onto itself.
I recently considered whether my son might take new interest in his current toys if I stocked them on a store’s shelves. After all, is a new train really so much better than one he already has, or is the appeal in his not yet having it?
That may be normal for a child. Then again, it may be normal for the rest of us too. I like to think that, if I won a multi-million dollar lottery jackpot, I would manage the money well and make it work to earn more and not necessarily change my lifestyle. Sudden wealth would likely play out very differently. I have my own list of toys awaiting the means to indulge.