Intentional parenting

Looking at things for what they could be can have a profound impact on our lives

From the start of my pregnancy, Sam and I had conversations about how we wanted to raise our child. One thing we were adamant about was that we didn’t want our home to be overflowing with toys.

As months of parenthood passed us by, we found ourselves losing sight of this. Henry was losing interest in the toys he has, and we were also getting bored of playing with the same things all the time.

A couple of weeks ago, I ended up going to trusty Kmart with the intention of shopping up a storm.

The more I walked the aisles though, the less inclined I felt to buy anything.

I couldn’t justify surrendering to the price tags on toys that I knew Henry would quickly lose interest in. It’s not that I wasn’t willing to spend money. It’s that I wanted the amount spent to be proportionate to the value that the toys would add to our lives.

I chose to leave…and I did so empty handed.

When we got home, Henry and I played together.

I sat back and watched Henry play for a couple of minutes. He then took the lead and involved me in what he was doing, and boy, did he remind me of a thing or two!

I was reminded that as adults, we tend to view things as being one-dimensional. We treat things as they’re intended to be treated:

A colander is for straining water. A hairbrush is for brushing your hair. A toilet roll is for holding toilet paper.

It’s often not until we have children that we learn to view things through the eyes of a child again. It’s then that we look at things through a lens of what they could be:

A colander is also a hat. A hairbrush is a microphone. A toilet roll is a trumpet.

Henry and I played for ages with the same toys he’s always had, but we played with them in a way we never had before.

We incorporated everyday items from our home to make it extra novel and we both had so much fun. Bottles and cans from my bathroom cupboard were used as bowling pins. Board books were used as crocodile jaws. The animal puzzle pieces were used for a puppet show.

Being inflexible and having a narrow focus serves certain purposes in our lives. But Henry reminded me how important it is to look at things for what they could be and not just what they are.

It’s such a basic thing, but the impact that it can have on our lives is profound – from the way we play with our children, to the success we have in business, to the way we view and treat other people.

Our house isn’t overflowing with toys that are intended to be toys. But it is overflowing with things that can be whatever we want them to be; that can provide us with hours of entertainment; that can inspire our imaginations; that can foster our learning.

I don’t want to spend valuable time, effort and money walking the aisles of toy shops.

Instead, I want to invest in utilising what’s already available to me; in pursuing creativity; in being willing to follow my child’s lead; in being mindful about my level of material consumption; in being honest about what purpose my consumption truly serves; and in being honest about how my perspective of the world impacts on my life.

I hope the rest of your week is happy and enjoyable!

​Beth x

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