After reading a very fine recent blog post by D. G. Hudson, I invited her to come join us with more of her helpful insights about documenting past history through personal collections and retained heirlooms. I'm pleased to welcome her here today.
Ask Me First!
Ask Me First!
Thanks, Arlee 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|
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:
Time for Retrospect August 2012
Tips on saving and sorting those boxes of memories, and a 'Memory Quilt' overview, a free-style version.
It's Your Life - Prove It February 2011
Keeping family records and stories alive, collecting that information, and protecting your history for your descendants.