We have arrived at Chapter Three, entitled, “Environment”. The chapter begins with painting a picture of the child’s room which ends with this sentence: “The room’s pastel color scheme and basic furniture – bed and bureau where the changing table once was – are no longer visible, buried under a thick overgrowth of multicolored, ever-growing, and expanding stuff.”
Kim John Payne talks about how in many of his workshops, parents want to begin simplification by simplifying the environment. This is a tangible, doable step toward simplification.
American culture leaned toward selling toys to children beginning around 1955 with the advent of the Mickey Mouse Club and Mattel advertising a toy outside of the Christmas season. And now, toys have expanded so that one doesn’t have to go to a toy store to buy a toy, but toys are available everywhere! Advertisers spend about 16 billion dollars a year now to market to children.
The four messages of advertising include: be unhappy with what you already have; you are the center of the universe and you should have what you want; products can solve problems and buying products is important.
Kim John Payne writes,” If you overwhelm a child with stuff – with choices and pseudochoices —before they are ready, they will know only one emotional gesture: “More!”
He asks parents to imagine all of your children’s toys in a mountain, and then halving this pile and perhaps again. Commercial toys shifts children’s creativity toward something that is dependent upon adults and the things adults provide. What would it be like to have less toys in your home?