We just had the following Talk with our children...

"I have a couple of problems and an event I'd like to talk to you guys about. First, you have probably noticed how much time Dad and I spend cleaning the house, to make it a nice place for our family to live.

"As part of members of this family, we ask you guys to be part of the clean ups. We know that you don't really enjoy doing a lot of cleaning. We’ve also heard both of you say that the work is too hard, when cleaning up a lot of toys. We understand because we have begun to notice that a lot of the time we spend cleaning is picking up toys and cleaning up messes on your side of the upstairs and it IS hard!

"Second, Eli just had a birthday and Lila’s got one coming up soon. Dad and I have had a hard time deciding on presents because there doesn’t seem to be much room in your bedroom or playroom for new toys and because you both have so many toys already.

“God has blessed us to be able to buy, not just the things that we need, but also a lot of the things that we want. God also asks us to take care of our things and share the things that he gives us.

"Finally, our small group is going to be having a charity garage sale in a few weeks. That means we are going to give all the money we make from selling our things to a group that will use the money to help people in need.

“Remember the meal packing event we did at church? We’ll be giving the money to organization: Feed My Starving Children. The more we sell, the more people we can help. Dad and I have been thinking, praying, and talking, and I think we've come up with a solution that will solve all of those problems and help others!

"It might not sound like a good idea at first, but I'll explain. We are going to go through the whole house (including the playroom) and pull out a lot of our things and toys. Then we will sell those things, along with a lot of Mommy and Daddy's things, in the garage sale.

"How does that sound? Awesome or pretty awful?!? But, let me explain! After we do this...

1. Dad and I will have more time to take care of our other responsibilities, so we will have more time to play, because we won't have to spend so much time cleaning.

2. The playroom (and the rest of the house) will be a nicer place to spend time.

3. We won't have to ask you two to pick up your toys so often.

4. There will be plenty of room for your new birthday presents!

5. We will be able to give a lot of money to a group that can help hungry children, which will make God very happy!

"I would love your help in choosing which toys to keep and which to sell. I know it will be a difficult task, however, so Dad and I are willing to do it on our own, if you'd prefer.

"Do you have any questions or feelings you'd like to share?"

You can probably guess how well that went over. Eli was too busy playing with his tiny dinosaurs to even care. Lila acted like we just told her we were going to execute a litter of puppies. We reassured them that we're not asking them to give up their favorite toys.

I'm sure there will be some tears, nonetheless. We're talking about major downsizing here. Personally, I'm pretty excited about it. (The downsizing; not the tears.) I hate stuff! I have long entertained fantasies about tossing a match into the playroom and shutting the door.

I'm pretty sure that's a sign of mental illness, but we don't need to talk about that.

Who needs toys when you've got ME?

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