I've noticed something about my kids recently. It's not a huge change in their gestalt, or their modus operandi...they're still basically the same. However, I've now, more than once, heard them explain with pride to their friends that we're not buying anything new and that there is some additional cool aspect about that. Like, their own personal gain.
For instance: in an effort to declutter our house as well as not buy anything new for a year, I told the kids that we will go through our groaning bookshelves one shelf at a time and decide what we still would like to read to ourselves; Babar or Harry Potter for example, and what we will keep for Mom to read, maybe Stuart Little or Laura Ingalls Wilder. The other books, that no longer serve our needs, we will SELL to the used bookstore and the kids will get to keep the money! They grinned, and I could hear their little Adam Smith minds churning away with them shrewdly eyeing the bookcases in a new, critical light.
So, they dumped out an entire shelf and started sorting with the understanding that they will share the money equally and that if either one of them, or I for sentimental reasons, wants to keep a book, it's not up for debate and goes right back on the shelf.
Here, you can see the madness. The floor is strewn with literary castoffs--the kids can't wait to shake off the yokes of their toddlerhood and early childhood. What once represented cuddly times on the couch, snuggled up with mom now seems like a huge untapped resource. It's like I woke up with a bunch of Shell executives and our living room was Ogoni Land.
See the picture below? Do you see how callously they tossed the Brown Bear, Brown Bear board book? What about the Jan Brett, Twelve Days of Christmas, or Riki Tiki Tembo? What about those?
My daughter got distracted and sat on the floor and started to read the Jan Brett book so that got put back up on the shelf. I put Riki Tiki Tembo back. Mostly, the kids were cooperative with each other and found the books that they didn't need any more. They now see the books as having an additional value that was lost on them before.
My kids want to cook me eggs and feed the cat and call their friends and be important participants in the world. Oh, and some cool, hard cash would be great too...