Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away, kids didn’t have many toys. They didn’t have mountains of plastic action figures, hundreds of fluffy stuffed animals, piles of Legos and countless electronic gismos. They played with sticks and rocks and climbed trees and leapt across streams, building forts in the bushes and weaving grasses into toy dolls. The Force was strong in those younglings.
But today, our children have been losing this connection. They have been tempted away from the natural world and from their own fertile imaginations by densely crowded cities, plastic and electronics – weakening the Force and gradually leading them to the Dark Side. Well, ok, maybe that’s a bit strong. But, I have just returned from seeing a certain movie this evening (and we have been watching all the earlier episodes over the past couple of weeks too!), so I’m a bit overloaded with Jedi jargon.
But really, kids do have way too many toys. And yes, it’s mostly their parents – myself included – who have bought them. Theo’s closet is a perfect example of this excess – with plastic containers full of plastic toys that he hasn’t played with for two, three or even four years. I have spent much of the last week trying to organize his closet and get rid of as many of his old toys as possible. Today, I managed to get him to work with me and sort through his red Ikea storage container full of plastic action figures, most of which, I’m loath to admit, were from McDonald’s Happy Meal (bought without buying the meal, I must add!). They were cheap, and sometimes really cool, so I had trouble saying no, and years later, we have a container full of them.
But today, Theo worked with me as I sorted through them and actually let go of half of them. I filled a smaller red plastic container with the ones he gave away, intending to donate them to the thrift store to sell as last-minute stocking stuffers. I picked up the container; it easily weighed a few pounds. As I delivered the toys to the back of the store, it felt good to part with so much plastic and replace it with empty space instead. Surely, the Force will be able to flow more freely now in our home, and my young Padawan will be able to focus on completing his Jedi training.
Oh dear. Stop now, I’d better.