Over the last almost eight years that I have been a parent, one thing has become more clear to me each day: less is more. We can search high and low for the perfect toy to play with, or the perfect class to take, or even the perfect experience to offer them, but none of this seems to make my kids any happier. In fact, I do believe it makes them less happy. Much much less. Why is this? Well, I think it teaches them to want and most importantly expect more instead of appreciating what they already have. Also, I think that when things are always presented to you (ie: a toy or a method of doing something) it leaves that ever important element out of the equation......creating. I think that when we have to make our own toy or figure out how to do something on our own there is a spark that gets lit within us that makes us feel whole and happy. For example, we had a really windy day last week and the kids came running in the house looking for plastic bags. They tied a string to the bags and up they went soaring in the sky. All we could hear from them were squeals of joy as they flew their bag kites up and down the street laughing and screaming with pure happiness. Sure, we have a kite that I could have taken out to use, but why? I have never seen them have more fun. And all they had was a bag and a string. Even our mail carrier had to actually come and tell me that she had been sitting there for a long time watching my kids play with their "kites" in the wind. She told me that she had never seen such happy children and that it had made her day. She even wanted to nominated me for Mother of the year! You mean all I had to do was put my kids outside in the wind with a bag and some string? I can do that. It seems easy, but doing less can feel much harder because everything around us tells us to get and do more. We have been in a long process of retraining ourselves to want less. To really look at what our choices and actions are saying about our family's values. What are the effects of each thing or activity on my children? Is it worth it?