A couple of weeks ago I sat down and had a “chicken chat” with Dear Old Dad. Our family has been busy putting the final touches on our chicken coop in anticipation of the upcoming arrival of our feathered friends! I enjoyed his reminiscing about his first two hens, Blondie and Speck. He was even able to dig out an old photograph of his dear little hens dating back about 66 years ago. When I first set eyes on the photo, I was struck by the simplicity of the life he lived in the bush of Northern Ontario. The chicken coop is that tiny little dog house structure in front of the garage doors. Though he grew up in a remote area with few of the luxuries we consider necessities (like running water!), his childhood tales are filled with joy, boyhood adventure and enthusiasm.
Our chicken chat got me thinking about the degree of excess in our own lives. A simple comparison of Blondie and Speck’s first home and our own chickens’ accommodations says it all. My goodness! I came to the realization that our hens will be residing in a luxury suite compared to their “ancestors”.
Though I make a conscious effort to control the clutter, commercialism and excess of toys in our home, who am I kidding? The contrast between Chi-Chi’s and Muffy’s childhoods and that of their grandfather is really quite striking. It seems my children are always receiving something “new” and I fear they will grow to expect it. I admit that a lot of this relates to the fact that I’m a craft-obsessed mom who continues to churn out toys and other playthings on a weekly basis. Whether it is a little wooden birdie or a woolly green asparagus, I’m always working on some sort of project and Chi-Chi and Muffy are most often the benefactors.
I’m confused about the message I’m relaying. On one hand, I feel the boys are constantly on the receiving end of more stuff. Even though these items are handmade by The Wool Fairy herself, they still classify as stuff! On the other hand, I’m of the opinion the little ones are learning the value of a “do it yourself” mindset. I often make the toys in collaboration with Chi-Chi and Muffy, so they are involved in the process. Sometimes they help me sand the wooden creations. Other times they just sit and snuggle with a ball of wool in hand while I knit. I rarely hear the phrase, “Buy me this”. The attitude seems to be, “Make me this mommy!” I would appreciate a "please" in there! Sometimes the orders are a little out of my league, but we do the best we can. Their ideas are quite often the inspiration for my crafting projects.
So the jury is out on this one. I’d love to hear from other crafty mamas struggling with the same dilemma. Are we instilling an appreciation and love for handmade items and laying the foundation for the acquisition of skills, or are we feeding the expectation that the ‘mommy toy factory” will keep producing at such a high yield?!
What would Blondie and Speck think of all this? Likely not something to get one's feathers too ruffled over (: