“Roly Polies, Sticks, and Mud: Finding Freedom in Simplicity”

pexels-photo-85599Are our houses overflowing with toys?

What are we teaching our kids about where to find contentment?

How can we encourage simplicity with our kids so they don’t get wrapped up in “things” – things that don’t satisfy?

We’ve all seen it: once they get that toy they’ve always wanted, it eventually loses it’s shine and they’re on to something else. Even though the best and brightest toys might attract our kids attention at first, most of the time kids have more fun playing with boxes, roly polies, sticks, and mud anyway.

I want my kids to be kids and enjoy life, and it is fun when they get a toy they’ve always wanted – there’s nothing wrong with that – I just want them to be content with what they have, use their creativity with simple things, be open-hearted to give, and be mindful of where their greatest joy lies.

My hope is that as I consistently teach them that loving God and others matters most, their hearts will yearn for greater things over temporal things.

Five practical ways to reinforce simplicity:

  1. Have THEM pick out some of their toys to give to a local shelter so they can learn to keep their hands open.
  2. Go together to buy crafts or toys for children staying at the hospital and bring them there together. When children give to others, their focus is taken off of themselves.
  3. Not giving our kids every single toy they ask for also reminds them that the world does not solely revolve around them – a hard, but valuable lesson to learn early on. They will learn it someday, so I’d rather my kids learn it from me. Our children will then find ways to enjoy what they already have and their creativity will thrive.
  4. The Rhyme Bible has an impactful story to read to our kids about “the rich fool” from Luke 12 who wanted “more, more, more,” but was never satisfied. In that story, Jesus reminds us that, “Life does not consist in an abundance of possessions” (Luke 12:15). I often remind my kids that more, more, more won’t make you happy, but Jesus, friends and family do. They know this saying by heart, and it has taken root in their heart and soul.
  5. Celebrate those moments when our kids choose to give something away on their own, letting them know that they are loving as Jesus tells us to, so they are more likely to do it again.

When we follow some of these practical ideas, our kids will begin experiencing the freedom that comes with simplicity.

Previously published by Church.org.