Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Fueling the Obsession

I struggle with indulgence. In theory, I understand that giving a child too much of something, even something that might be good for them, is not beneficial. A child who has too much can take things for granted, develop an attitude that reflects anything but gratitude and perhaps worst of all, a sense that he is entitled.
But what about an unexpected windfall? What about when something good falls in your lap?
 Steve attended a meeting at work centered on the topic of ingenuity. Every table had a fishbowl full of Legos. As the meeting came to an end, someone pointed out that the Legos needed homes. Steve came away with three gift bags full of our favorite bumpy blocks. Eli doesn't play with Legos very much yet. Not because he doesn't want to. If he goes within a five foot radius of something a brother has assembled, much snarling and griping (on the part of the assembler) ensues. He was beyond thrilled to have his very own bag of Legos.
 Usually when new Legos are added to our collection, there is a major objective that must be met. Our boys want the Legos in the box to match the picture on the outside. They faithfully follow the step-by-step instructions until their mission is accomplished. One of our children then puts the newly assembled creation high on a shelf in his room where other little hands cannot destroy it. Many, many moons must pass before he will even consider taking it apart and building something else. But a random collection of basic Legos was a refreshing concept. The boys went back to building towers and simple shelters, inventing enemies to attack said structures. I enjoyed watching them build and play, without stressing over whether or not they followed the instructions and that it looked like it was "supposed to".
Eli came back again and again to show me his bag of Legos and wanted me to take another picture. He spends quite a bit of time dumping the bag out and stacking a few blocks, then he loses interest, picks up his mess (bless him, wonder how long that will last?) and moves on to something else.
On one hand, I feel like we fueled their obsession of acquiring more stuff. Did we need 578 more Legos? Definitely not. Was it fun to see the joy on their faces when Dad brought home such a fantastic surprise? Absolutely. So for now I'm going to focus less on what I'm not doing right and enjoy a few minutes with our boys. Building a tower. Then we'll probably knock it down.

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