Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ask Me First! : Guest Post from D.G. Hudson

         D.G. Hudson joined the A to Z Challenge in 2012 with her wonderful posts about Paris from A to Z.  She caught my attention recently when she did a post that linked back to my memoir blog Wrote By Rote.   I asked her to share something with the readers of my blog and she happily consented.   I thought I'd share this post on the A to Z Blog for those of you who missed it on my memoir blog.   Be sure to check out Wrote By Rote--this blog publishes each Saturday.  And don't forget to stop by D.G. Hudson--21st Century Women and say hello and take a look at what she does. 

Ask Me First!

Thanks, Lee and Tina for allowing me to write about an aspect of documenting one's family history that may not occur to many parents.  I'm referring to a child's right to say yea or nay about his 'stuff', some of which may become his own future collectibles.

             At NASA, they collect Rockets for a Space Garden (Photo by D.G. Hudson) 

Does your child have a collection which he treasures? Regardless of how age inappropriate it may seem, don't give away those items without his permission. Let the owner of that object decide its fate, perhaps after beginning elementary school.  The concept of ownership has to be understood.

A child's collectibles can be driftwood, badges, favourite books, games, train sets or a special comfort toy. Doll collections, action figures, signed toys, a favourite teddy bear, all are reminders of our past. On the serious side are collections of coins, stamps, sports cards, or sports paraphanalia. If an item has heritage significance to the child, such as a gift from a doting relative, ensure the child is aware of the value and background. Some early collections may turn into a main interest in a person's adult life or perhaps influence a career choice. Don't stifle that urge to hold onto a moment, nurture it.

Have a keep and a recycle box, just like in Toy Story, and let your kids decide what is to be given away. Don't get the boxes mixed up, and never keep collectibles in a garbage bag. It might end up at the curb (just like in the movie). Always keep collections clearly marked in boxes or bins, protected from dust and damage.

Kids may become more involved in the winnowing process, if they are going to be selling the toys that are no longer wanted. Recycling toys at a kids' swap meet with your child is a great way to teach several lessons at once. Packaging the items that are small in ziplock bags keeps them clean, and teaches little ones how to display the items, determining prices for the objects teaches value, handling small sales (with supervision) for the younger ones, and helping sort money promotes a basic understanding of our money system. Don't forget to have a 'float' of small bills and change and be prepared to bargain (older kids can do this). The trick at swap meets is to let the kids keep the money they make or agree to share the profits.

This post originated with the idea that a child should have the right to decide what's important in their 'stuff' and not have it given away as if it's communal property. I've heard my hub's sad tale of loss of a collectible electric train set and hardcover comic books which he had slowly acquired. He was never asked, when these items were given to children of his parents' friends. His regret at losing the early collections spurred him to start anew.


Think of your own childhood toys or items like chairs, cradles, wagons? Do you still have any of them?  Have you ever been to a kids swap meet or had your own toy yard sale?

What did you collect as a child?  Do you collect anything now? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


Related posts from DG Hudson's blog:

Tips on saving and sorting those boxes of memories, and a 'Memory Quilt' overview, a free-style version.

Keeping family records and stories alive, collecting that information, and protecting your history for your descendants.




Wonderful post to read, very absorbing. As a child I was very much into piano playing so didn't collect things as children do. But it gave me my love of music.


J.L. Campbell said...

Good article and things we don't think about when we're clearing out. My son has over 50 'action figures'. These are wrestlers he's made with cartridge paper, staples, pen and crayons. Only God knows how he figures out when one is missing, but he does.

The last time we threw some out, we had to fish them out of the garbage, so we learned that lesson the hard way.

I do agree that kids should get to decide on what is trash or treasure.

JoJo said...

This post brought back a great deal of resentment towards my mom for giving away all my stuff. If I wasn't actively playing with something, it was given away to 'the less fortunate'. Puzzles, games, toys, books, lunchboxes, etc etc etc. I'd come home from school and find my stuff gone. The last straw was when I was in 6th or 7th grade and asked where my craft box was b/c I couldn't find it. She said that she gave it to my 3 y/o cousin and that I'd told her it was OK. I would NEVER have said that was OK. I was furious and hurt and have never forgiven her for that. I told her I wanted it back and she said she couldn't and wouldn't ask for it back. From that point on I started saving things in shoeboxes hidden in my room. The other day she was cleaning out her own stuff and said, 'wow I really saved everything' and I sneered, 'yeah all YOUR stuff. You gave all mine away.' BTW, I'm 47 and it still hurts to think about it.

Arlee Bird said...

JoJo -- I can understand your pain about this. My mother was always pretty good about not throwing out my stuff, but after I became an adult and on my own she did give away some of my "treasures". Granted I wasn't living at home but still keeping my stuff at her house, I wish I still had the stuff that went to neighborhood kids and others--especially my collection of Hardy Boys and Tom Swift books and my old models. I guess she figured I didn't want them anymore, but still...

But, yeah, having them thrown out while you were still in the house was pretty bad. I can understand the resentment.

Tossing It Out

PR said...

Great advice, I will keep this in mind for my lil sis. I've never been one for collecting, I was always giving my toys away to friends and family :)

Tami Von Zalez said...

I've kept quite a few collectibles from my childhood - one being the original Barbie (in her black and white striped swimsuit).

I have also kept my children's collectibles. They have seemed to have lost interest in them, but who knows, maybe the grandkids will find delight in them.

Andrew Leon said...

My mom gave away my stuff on a couple of occasions, and, because of that, I've never let my wife toss out any of my kids stuff when she's had the urge to purge junk. Even though her mom did it to her on at least one occasion, she doesn't seem to connect the pain that caused her (and I know it did, because she's told me) to how it would affect our kids if she just tossed out their stuff.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I don't have kids, but I do still have my pet rock.

Tina said...

Loved this the first time around, but this time I started thinking about what Mom gave away against my will. It's actually a post and not a comment, so I'll write it up, and then link back to here, OK?
Thanks for guesting,D.G.
Tina @ Life is Good

loverofwords said...

Love the idea of saving things from your kids' childhood. My son is still lamenting my giving away his GI Joe with the Kung Fu grip. I did save letters, cards and things from school in large portfolios with their names on them, so when they go through my things when I (ahem) am no longer here; they will see their collections.

Rob Z Tobor said...

Ooooooo I dont think this would work in the UK sounds like USA kids are rather a polite and civilized bunch.

Unknown said...

What I wouldn't do for my old 45's that my mom tossed out.

I think what you've said here is very insightful. We've recently started a small book collection (my three almost four year old granddaughter and I) for bedtime reading. I'm really going to take to heart your opinions and advice; she's very attached to those books.

Arlee Bird said...

Jen -- Actually I wish my mom would have taken care of and kept her old LP's and 78's. I'd love to have those now because there was some great music. As for my 45's I'm the idiot. When I started collecting LP's I figured 45's were obsolete and I gave them all to a friend of mine to use for target practice. Doh! There were some real collectibles in that bunch as well as some great music.

Tina-- I look forward to your post about this.

Tossing It Out

D.G. Hudson said...

glad you liked the post. I'm checking these a little late,but thanks for stopping by!

Thanks JL,
we nearly did the same thing with one of our daughter's toys. That started me thinking. . .

sorry I stirred up old resentments but my hubs felt the same way when he wasn't asked. Do you collect things now to make up for it? I do.

Thanks, Lee for popping in here, I got called away for minor emergency. My husband knows how JoJo feels, the same thing happened. He had no say-so at all.

Thanks for stopping by to all who took the time. I appreciate it.

D.G. Hudson said...

Anna - what a friendly spirit you must be,sharing your toys. Or did that get you more toys (to fill the vacancy?)

Tami - that is a collectible Barbie. Hang on to it.

Andrew - Good for you, it's too easy for us as parents to assume we know what our kids think.

D.G. Hudson said...

be nice to that pet rock and don't toss it around too much. . .

Tina - this post sparked an idea? I hope that's a good thing. I'll be watching for your post.

Loverofwords - so you know what I mean. Someone else was happy, at least.

Rob - is that right? What would they do in the UK?

Jen - that's a shame. Check out some of those old vinyl record shops. We've found some good ones there.

Lee - thanks for picking up my slack today and keeping the discussion going. (Apologies for my absence in responding in a more timely manner).