This week we take a break from opining on more pressing issues to offer one editor’s ruminations on the joys of fatherhood. The Herald wishes all of our readers a happy Father’s Day.
Father’s Day marks not only the day the world’s supply of hideous neckwear is annually renewed, but also the midpoint of the year, give or take. Father’s Day ambles in just as most of us are packing away our New Year’s resolutions and storing them in the back of our minds for reconsideration next January. I propose that dads around the country take advantage of their special day to make a new kind of promise to themselves: a Father’s Day resolution. A pledge a papa can make relating to the raising of his brood.
Here’s mine: I’m not buying any more toys.
Never again will I lay out my hard-earned money on my two sons’ behalf for any colorful gadget, gizmo or whizzdoodle unless they submit to me, in writing, a convincing plan citing quantifiable evidence of the improvements they expect the item will make in their lives.
Since my kids are now 5 and 3, this pretty much rules out the purchase of any new toys for at least the next half decade, and, to be honest, that’s the idea.
I’m not saying my sons can’t own toys. If they get jobs they can buy toys. If someone gives them a toy, they’re welcome to keep it. All I’m saying is I’m not shelling out for any new toys until they can prove that they’ll appreciate them.
The idea first occurred to me around this time last year. I was on babysitting duty, stationed at a laptop in the playroom of our house and watching my son Max, then just short of 2, playing on the floor. On the carpet with him was a head-high pile of toys that collectively must have cost $3,000. In addition to the regular-rotation toys were the contents of a large basket that had been pulled off a shelf at some point that morning. The basket contained older toys that had fallen out of favor with the boys and that my wife and I had let lie fallow in the hope that a trial separation might imbue them with new appeal.