Being a parent myself, I have a healthy skepticism when it comes
to how to parenting books by experts. It's a minority that engage me
right through to the end. I have to say, however, I like Kim John
Payne's Simplicity Parenting. The premise feels right. Kids today
can have too much in every sense of the word and be suffocated rather
The first dimension Payne delineates is things. We give with
the best of intentions, not really seeing the downside. An
overabundance of toys can make it hard for a child to truly value
one. Some items are age inappropriate. Toys that are too highly
programmed can stifle the development of imagination. Ironically the
very toys touted as giving babies and toddlers an intellectual edge
can stand in the way of crucial developmental tasks. There are tips
for mindful pruning.
The second too much is randomness rather than security giving
rythym. This, I think, is the hardest with both parents often working
and kids in sports and other activities. Payne suggests that even
small rituals like brushing teeth and listening to bed time stories
could be a good start, providing islands of regularity.
The third too muchness is schedules. When Amber was in second
grade I tried to invite one of her friends over, only to be told that
she had lessons and activities every day of the week. Holy Hannah!
Some enrichment is good. Pursuing passions can be wonderful for
youngsters. However, a deficit in down time leaves a child no space
for rest, contemplation, inspiration, or referee less play where kids
learn to negotiate. Payne favors paring down to a child's favorite
activities. This can also bring much needed peace to the chauffering
The last area of too muchness Payne points out is the in your
face information overload of the adult world. It's not only kids
being exposed to content. It's them being exposed to our reaction to
content. If the constant discussion of frightening, rare instances
has us fearful for their safety, our sons and daughters will catch
I would commend Simplicity Parenting to any mother or father who
feels overwhelmed or intimidated by the too muchness today's world has
to offer or simply wants a slower, saner family life.
On a personal note, I found a quote that relates to this blog.
"Loving something for its own sake--not for its potential in fame,
glory, or music scholarships is far from ordinary. It's an
extraordinary blessing...". Writing this blog for you, dear readers,
feels like an extraordinary blessing.
A great big shout out goes out to you, my dear readers.
Julia Emily Hathaway
Sent from my iPod