Although my children received many wonderful toys for Christmas this year (we are very thankful for all the gifts we were blessed with this year) the things my kids usually end up playing with for hours are not store bought toys. While we were down visiting the grandparents, my kids spent hours building castles and towns of buildings using Papa's scrap pile in his shop. Notice the rocks on top and the cardboard box in the background? Yet two more things my kids love to play with all the time. They were busy whizzing through the cardboard tunnel on trikes, bikes and stick horses. They also spent hours out in the field with Papa in the prairie grass running up and down the dry creek pretending to be Indians and adventurers without any toys at all.
Some days I wonder.
I'm so thankful that my kids have such great imaginations and can play without electronics and new fangled toys. The hard part is that their play usually involves elaborate amounts of cleaning up at the end. They love, love, LOVE to move all the furniture around, get all the pillows off the the couches and beds, and use endless amounts of blankets to create forts, mazes, gymnastics equipment and many other things. Not to mention the myriad of outfit changes that all this play requires. So when it's time to clean up, I can't just walk into a room and say Kolsen clean up your Legos and girls put your dolls away. Pick-up time is a major undertaking! Some days I wish my house was nice, clean and picked up, but you know what? We live here, play here, learn here and life is messy. I know that my kids will remember all the fun they had making messes and playing for many years down the road.
I'm blessed with the time to have trained my children to be good helpers. So when it come time to clean up, it's not a world ending crisis. Do my kids complain about cleaning sometimes? Yes. Do they do it joyfully all the time? No. But, they are willing to do the work the majority of the time and for that I'm thankful. I know that down the road, their future spouses will be grateful that I spent the time to teach them diligence and follow through during their early years and didn't allow them to spend endless hours watching TV and playing video games to keep them occupied and my house clean. Habits form early.