Personal Belongings: The Fine Line Between Sharing and Responsibility


We were at a local swimming hole for the first time recently and being the rookie mom that I am, I didn’t know that the establishment had loads and loads of water toys for guests to play with. I brought our own sand toys for my daughter.  When we located our friends and claimed a spot of shade under the umbrella, the toys were the first thing out of the tote.

Personal Belongings: The Fine Line Between Sharing and Responsibility | Duluth Moms Blog

Bucket of Plastic 

I immediately thought “Oh no.  How in the world are we going to know which ones to collect when we are ready to leave?!” I had to speak truths in my mind, “They are just pieces of plastic, they hold no meaning in our life besides the fact that they are fun to play with, and they can be easily replaced.” I wasn’t going to let my anxiety run wild over pieces of sand toys, I was going to take delight in the sunny summer day!

We enjoyed the splashes of cool water, conversations with other moms while admiring all the kids showing off their latest tricks in front of us.  There were literally zero clouds in the sky, but a tiny little one was soon going to rain on someone’s parade. My daughter caught another girl playing with her big, blue sand bucket.  She quickly exited the water, and when she hit land she started collecting shovels and boats and putting them in her bucket, giving the little girl the side eye as she proceeded to tuck the bucket under a nearby picnic table; She knew exactly which toys were hers.

Back in the water we went, and just as we turned our backs, the little girl was digging under the picnic table, determined to claim the blue bucket as hers once again.  My daughter noticed and stormed to shore.  She collected every last toy and brought them all in the water with her. Her fists were barely large enough to contain everything.

Knowing this was the prime time in parenting to have a good heart-to-heart talk about sharing your belongings with others, and playing nicely with peers, I did so, but part of me was also selfishly proud that she was being responsible for her belongings and keeping them together.

Emotions Run High 

The interesting thing about our family is that not only have we moved twice in the last 8 months, we have moved from 1,200 sq ft  of living space, to 640 sq ft, and now in 1,400 sq ft. Most of the podcasts we listen to and blogs we read have a minimalist theme to them. We have become pros at downsizing, donating, decluttering, and truly minimizing our belongings. I know full well the emotions that are felt pertaining to parting with possessions and leaving possessions behind.

I find it fascinating that our daughter has developed these emotions towards possessions at such a young age.  I am thankful that in the present day, I find great joy when I see someone else utilizing belongings that were once mine.  I would much rather have belongings being used than sitting in our basement or back of the closet.

People > Possessions  

We went home from the beach that day with all of our toys, not any less and not a single more.  It is my hope that through my moments of parenting, I will be able to model to my daughter “People > Possessions,” any day and every day!