How 4 little burs reminded me that raising awesome kids does not always need to involve spending money.
Last week I took my two kids and two of their friends with me to run an errand after swim lessons. Our after-swim-lesson ritual is to pick a few raspberries from the bush near the pool on the way to the car and as we were finishing our picking one day my youngest daughter found a plant that had little burs on it. She was so excited about finding this little bur and instantly began calling it Mr. Bur. Her enthusiasm was contagious and so each child proceeded to pick a bur from the plant and happily play with it as they brought it with them to the car. My initial internal reaction was “Agh, I do not want burs in my car, they’ll end up in someone’s hair…” but I kept that voice quiet and allowed the kids into the car with their little treasures. And I am so glad that I did.
We ran into some traffic so the car trip took about 20 minutes. When we first hit the traffic, I felt that normal traffic anxiety (which was heightened by having 2 extra kids in the car) but when I took a moment to breathe and look into the back of the van, what I saw was precious and magical.
The 4 girls were deep in creative play with their little burs. They had named them Mr, Mrs, Little, and Baby Bur. The burs had little personalities and were involved in living little bur lives. The kids were engrossed with this little pretend play. Giggles and silly talk and the most innocent and sweet kind of child play you can imagine. And it lasted the entire 20 minute car trip. It honestly made my day and reminded me of such an important lesson.
My husband and I do not generally spend a lot of money on kid’s activities or kid’s toys – which is a choice that we intentionally made and that we continue to live by. But a small part of me sometimes worries: “What if I am depriving my kids by not putting them into the more expensive camps, paying for sometimes costly enrichment activities, or buying pricey toys?” Because listen – I really would spend any amount of money for these little people if I believed it was truly in their best interest. Dave and I do not want to just be frugal – frugality for the sake of saving money is not the point for us. The point is to spend our money on things that really and truly matter for us, things that we value and that add value to our lives.
The Bur Family reconnected me to my belief that we are on the right track with our kids. While I do not doubt that many of the expensive camps and enrichment activities are amazing and probably do provide great experiences and value for many kids and families – I am not depriving my kids at all by not enrolling in them. Instead, I am allowing and encouraging my kids to create their own amazing experiences out of the world around them. As evidenced by the pictures below, my adventurous little people are creating really wonderful experiences every single day. Thank you, Bur Family, I always appreciate a reminder that comes in the form of happy kids.