Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Community giving 101

We’ve pledged to try to raise socially conscious children who give back to the community whenever possible. We decided our first step in this would be a bi-annual sorting of the toys, giving away whatever wasn’t played with to charity.

With Christmas — and the mountains of new toys that come with it — looming, the moment had come. This time around, I decided to involve Peanut. The process began with a little warm-up conversation.

Me: You know, there are kids who don’t have any toys. And you have lots of toys, some of which you and Loaf never, ever play with. Wouldn’t it be nice to give some of those toys away to kids who don’t have any?
Peanut: (blank stare)
Me: Because I think that would be a really nice thing to do. What do you think?
Peanut: (continuing blank stare)
Me: Don’t you feel sad that there are kids who don’t have any toys?
Peanut: (suddenly coming to life) NO!!!
Me: (trying different approach) Wouldn’t you be sad if you didn’t have any toys?
Peanut: NO! Grandma would buy me more.

Ooooh-kay. Obviously we just needed to dive right in.

I decided to start her in Loaf’s room, figuring it’d be far easier for her to get rid of her sister’s toys than her own.

I dumped a basket of small baby toys — stuff that has not been touched in months — out onto the floor.

Me: (Picking up first item) How about this rattle? You don’t play with this anymore and I haven’t seen Loaf play with it in a long time either. Should we put it in the bag?
Peanut: No! Blanket likes it.
Me: Blanket? Likes? It?
Peanut: Yup. She plays with it. (Snatches rattle from my hand and runs into her own room with it. Returns moments later with Blanket’s “arm”— yes, blanket has arms, as well as feet and a face — wrapped around the rattle).
Me: (sighing) Okay, okay, Blanket can keep that one. But what about this one?
Peanut: I used to play with that.
Me: I know you used to, but you don’t anymore. How about we put it in the bag?
Peanut: (long pause) Okay.
Me: Really!?! Oh, I mean, great. (Drops item in bag)

We went on like that for a long time, moving slowly through Loaf’s room, Peanut’s room and the toys in the living room. I’d hold up an item and she’d give the “yea” or “nea” on it. Multiple times she anxiously confirmed that we were not getting rid of ALL of her toys and that she in fact would still have some things left to play with, despite the fact that we were clearly keeping quite a bit of stuff and some things — like that damn annoying Sesame Street Teach and Go Train that blares, “BIG BIRD HERE! TIME TO TAKE THE TEACH AND GO TRAIN FOR A RIDE!!” at least 300 times a day was unfortunately not even under consideration.

In the end, she ended up agreeing to get rid of two grocery bags full of toys. I know it’s a total Mom thing to say, but I’m really proud of her.


Blogger Rashenbo said...

Hehhe. Good luck! :)

4:26 PM  

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