Wednesday, July 17, 2013

My Kids are "Imagination-Challenged"

***I've decided to start writing again! I'm so excited, and I hope you are too! I've really missed an outlet to vent, rave, and learn together along this parenthood journey. All my sarcasm is distributed solely to my husband, who doesn't appreciate it nearly as much as my MBP readers! LOL! I will jump right in and will be doing posts this way for awhile; short and sweet and exactly what's going on in our little life parenting two small kids in this foreign country. I'm learning it's all the same though. Kids are kids and our job is the same globally. Raising decent human beings. So here we go! Back in the saddle, yo!!***

Once we stripped our children of all toys except the ones they could fit into one large suitcase to take to Nicaragua, I realized the gravity of what I was asking them to give up. Toys were their security. The things that they found enjoyment in, but also the little bit of life they had control over. They decided what they would play with and how, and it provided them distractions. They had an entire room full! We had two huge garage sales and we probably ridded their little lives of thousands of dollars worth of toys in a span of three weeks before the big move. 

Now that we are here, I'm realizing a few things about their "stuff". Without all the distractions and materialism, they don't know how to play. They don't know how to be kids the way my generation used to be kids. We'd rush outside first thing in the morning and pick up a large stick and rocks and play baseball all day in the cul-de-sac. We would cart our matchbox cars out back and spend an afternoon digging roads an making tunnels. We would retreat on rainy days and build forts out of sheets and chairs and read books to each other. We learned to use what we had, which wasn't a lot, and we were completely content with that. We used our imaginations. My kids are definitely lacking in that department to a certain degree. Do your kids have this issue? There are so many toys out there that it eliminates the need for them to be resourceful and create anything for themselves. 

As we sat on the beach yesterday, they looked out over the crashing waves and said, "Mom, we're bored!" I choked on my bottle of water. Looking around at paradise before us, I realized... I need to teach my children to play! 

We immediately got to work with some bowls and cups that we'd brought, making a sandcastle village. We decorated with sticks and shells, and them we went on to digging a "swimming pool" for the few superhero action figure that they'd brought down with them. Filling the bowls with water, they filled the pool with saltwater and had so much fun splashing around. Once I led them through the process of using what they had to have a good time, they ran with it. But I fully understand how up until now, they've lived in a lifestyle of sitting around waiting to be entertained. They are "lazy-fun-makers". It's going to be a process of teaching them to play. Many intentional moments of sitting down with them and leading them through guided brainstorming techniques. Teaching them to be resourceful and thankful for the little bit that they still DO have. We will do so with a few disgruntled attitudes about how much stuff they used to have to occupy their time, but I pray that in time, this way of life will be the one they prefer. The simple, relational, creative playtime that cultivates their imagination and their perspective on gratitude. Just one of the many things we are working on here in Nicaragua. As I've heard said numerous times, " they are our FIRST mission field", after all. 


  1. Hey girl! Good to have you back! (Although have been following along on FB so you've never really been 'gone'). I totally hear you, I've just recently packed up a lot of my munchkins toys as they have been going through the same thing. So many toys yet they stumble around bored. Our backyard is like a natural magical playground yet Mr 3 complains constantly). I'm on the same mission as you! I'm looking forward to hearing your tips, I've already scheduled some posts with mine (although we have got a looong way to go!). Hope you and your beautiful fam are well xx

  2. It is good to hear from you. I hope things are going good for you guys there. One of the reasons I always loved the McGyver show was the fact that he made do with his imagination and what he had on hand. I learned that growing up poor on a farm too. I have learned to enjoy the challenge of it now as I hope your kids will too. I like playing a game where you give people a few items and ask them to make something and see who comes up with the best item. I think in all of life we should have this approach. Whenever we face something we should make the most of whatever we have in dealing with it.
    Glad you are back!!

  3. So glad to see you're back! Thank you so much for the guest post in May. I moved over to and am on facebook there too.
    Glad all is well, love to hear about your new Adventshas!