Apr 11, 2010

Toys vs Tools

We decided it was time to discuss with the children the new changes that we will be implementing around our home in reagards to "stuff". We have already changed the works schedules and that has been a great benefit. Now it is time to get rid of all the un-real stuff that is taking up our time and attention.

Well our discussion went something like this: We are going to have a garage sell in a few months. We are going to sell a lot of the things that are in our house. I need you to decide if you want to be a part of this process or if it would be easier for you to "just let mommy do it" and not "know". All of the children said that they wanted to be a part of the deciding and each of them had specific toys that they were concerned about. Moo was concerned about the doll stuff and the computer Dude was concerned about the Lego's. Chip was concerned about the dress up's and the stuffed animals and the puppets, Chipper wasn't concerned about anything..he said everyone else had already picked his concerns.

So as we were addressing their toy concerns we came up with a great "catch" phrase: Is this a toy or a tool? Is this something that encourages me to play and enjoy myself or is this something that teaches me something or that encourages me to become something that I want to become. For example: Doll's encourage little girls to want to become mothers and to someday want to have babies of their own. They also encourage girls to desire to take care of something and nurture Laura does in little house, she takes good care of her doll ...and she only has one. As we discussed the computer we decided that the computer is a tool or a toy, depending on how you choose to use it. We must be careful what we choose when we use the computer...are we gaining information, are we learning and changing, are we gaining a skill or are we playing, being selfish, or entertaining ourselves. We are still debating about the lego' it a skill to be able to build with lego's..does it use creativity and ingenuity...sometimes I think yes...not when we are doing "copy" work from pre designed sheets, but yes when we are thinking on our own...(although Keri disagrees because she believes you are not really building with "real" don't really build a building with lego's...or anything like lego's..and yet a doll is certainly not a "real" baby...and you don't treat a real baby how you would treat a doll) so we have decided that we will just give all our lego's to grandma. Then we can enjoy them at her house when we are "playing" and we won't be giving up our lego's.

We also discussed how sometimes our activities can be toys instead of tools. Sometimes sports, play's, book groups, etc can be for social resons for visiting with our friends, for entertainment of our own selfish needs and wants. Sometimes activities or clubs or groups can be for learning, for growth, and for service to others. joy in sharing this is so that someone else may also find a way on their own path...find the place where they have joy and peace and less distractions....we can all benefit from getting rid of distractions in our life....But also we have been reading the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe with our family and tonight we came across the part where we find Father Christmas giving gifts to the Sons of Adam and the Daughters of Eve and he says to Peter...."this is a tool, not a toy" .....TA DA! I was reading...and my brain reads faster than my mouth so I started laughing because I knew what was coming up and I said, "you guys are not going to believe this, but...." and then I had to show them that it said it right there in the book (my first time reading it by the way). So aparently I stole this inspirational phrase from CS Lewis...or he stole it from me 50 years ago :) blogging a tool or a toy? Sounds like a personal decision to me :)


  1. How funny that you read that when you are going through this process!

  2. I read the headgate article and I think she is way too extreme. There should be time for play, relaxation and distraction. Life is not all work. Her ideas are very unbalanced. Be careful!!

  3. I read the headgate article and I think she is way too extreme. There should be time for play, relaxation and distraction. Life is not all work. Her ideas are very unbalanced. Be careful!!