PostHeaderIcon The Joy Of Giving, Sort-Of

By Jael Strong

It can be very difficult to part with our precious belongings, even if we haven’t used them in years. I just recently had some experience in this arena when trying to convince Jackson that he didn’t need the avalanche of books that tumble from his bookshelf.

While he was off practicing his bass, I settled myself in his room for more than an hour separating his books into three stacks: keep, sell, and give away. There is a used book store nearby that gives a good deal on old books and I thought my niece would love Jackson’s plethora of Dr. Seuss books.

Proudly, I finished my work and called Jackson up to show him. He gladly placed the “keep” books back on the shelf. He even agreed to part with half of the “sell” books. The appeal of purchasing new books with the money was great. But I was dismayed to see every last Dr. Seuss book go back on the shelf. He said, “Oh no, not my Dr. Seuss books.” In the end, he agreed to give one lonely book to his cousin.

What I learned 

First, I have to say this is progress. Jackson does not like to get rid of anything. If you have a similar pack rat at home, maybe this will help:

  • Encourage a trade. Maybe your son or daughter has something a friend would like. They can trade. Maybe this doesn’t eliminate clutter, but your child will at least have something new to use for a while.
  • Selling things to used book stores or consignment shops can help to ease the pain of letting go. Your son or daughter may learn a bit about business along the way as well.
  • Show your child the joy of generosity. Perhaps I failed in this department, but if we can set an example by giving valued items to those who may need them more, perhaps our children will follow in our footsteps.
  • Just let it go. We don’t like to see our kids grow up. Maybe they don’t like it so much either. Giving away all of his Dr. Seuss books might have symbolized something greater, giving away his younger days of yore. Maybe I should be happy he was willing to part with one.

In any case, it probably isn’t a good idea to force the issue. If there is room, why not let the kids keep some of their old stuff. In time, little by little, they will part with it. Then, we may be the ones who wish we had never parted with those precious items.

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