One afternoon while out on a necessary family exercise trip around the block on our scooters my son saw a discarded doll house, Batman Gotham city jail to be exact. He asked and asked if we could take it home. During the Corvid-19 pandemic we find ourselves in the midst of, we decided it would be best to leave it where it is.
With a brief explanation he got it.
Each afternoon we passed the same doll house under the same tree, our son saw it and commented on it again and again.
Today we decided to stop and take a look at the toy. It was definitely well loved in its previous life. We explained to our son that the toy needed an extreme amount of cleaning, trying to convince him to leave it behind, and that if he decided to bring it home he would need to consider the toys he already has, and perhaps consider donating one to another little boy or girl who could get some joy out of one of his things than he is.
And true to form this was no issue for him. So Gotham city jail came home and something else left.
This might sound like a one in one out rule and in some ways it is. Our children did a huge de-clutter of their toys recently and found a good baseline of belongings that they own and enjoy. (Our son was the shining star of the activity. He worked out faster than us how to detach from his belongings.) Because of this it means that when bringing in new items they do need to consider whether or not they will get more joy out of this new, often second-hand item than one they currently own.
Our son is happy to let go of his belongings particularly to seek joy in others. He has shown us how to look for the joy in life using our possessions to experience it. And how to let them go when they no longer fulfil that purpose.
This is a lesson we have been trying to teach our children since they were born and largely failing at in the past but since being on our own journey of minimalism, we stopped preaching about attachment and started role-modelling, and it finally appears to be working.
So ultimately our son has shown us the importance of talking less and doing more.