976 Elephants

976 elephants.  That is how many Great Aunt Doris had in her collection.  She had all sizes and shapes. They were made of a variety of materials.  Some came from exotic locations around the globe.  She had elephant everything from earrings to end tables.  But isn’t 976 too much of anything?   Many were simply packed away in a trunk (pun intended).  What’s in your collection?  What does your child collect?


some of my salt and pepper shakers

Step one in having a collection is discovering what we are interested in or what we prefer.  It is a valid discovery.  I recall as a child being challenged to find things I uniquely enjoyed and not just parroting my older sister.   Having an identified interest makes gift giving easier and more fun for others as they shop for us.

Step two is managing that collection.  How do I use it? How do I incorporate it into my life and my space?  Is it usable or is it just something to display and admire?  What is required of me to take care of my collection?

Step three is to not broadcast your interest too loudly or loosely lest you be inundated with too much of what you love.  This may cause one to reconsider their chosen item.   It is okay to let family and friends know that you have enough of ______________.

Dear Great Aunt Doris lived to be 105 years old.  That is a very, very, long time to collect elephant-bowlanything.  I believe she never tired of elephants.  I am thankful to have inherited a single elephant bowl from her.  I keep it filled with fruit on my counter and it reminds me of her.

As children grow and mature, naturally their interests will change.  The Polly Pockets which were completely thrilling at age six may have no meaning to a twelve year old.   The toddler who adored penguins later as a teen may find them rather boring and even smelly.    Allow your child to cast off old interests and embrace new ones.  You might encourage your child to find ways to share their old collectibles with others.    There is a time and a season for everything.   One of my sons assured me baseball cards are timeless.

I have seen adults try to start collections for children.  This rarely works well as each person needs to discover for themselves where their interests lie.   We also need to allow our children to decide for themselves when they are ready to move on to something new.

One more challenge with collections is the trap of discontentment.  If we always think we need more of something, then we must ask if our collection is controlling us.   Try a reverse collection.  I love banks, but I don’t need banks.  I have a few. It is enough.  I routinely give banks as a new baby gift.  It is sort of my signature gift. I give what I enjoy and hope they will enjoy it too.     Do you have any ideas for signature gifts or reverse collecting?12509089_1210792845603492_6949928042686141160_n



Fat Momma Syndrome

Fat Momma Syndrome, or FMS.   You will not find this syndrome on any medical list.  You will not find its traits or characteristics described anywhere but here.  This label is my creation based on years of observations as a youth pastor.   Caveat;  I am not attempting to criticize any woman’s size. That would be the pot calling the kettle black.   I am labeling a parenting temptation.

I believe the syndrome begins long before the teen years, but that is when I saw it reach its peak.  I am referring to the teen years of the daughter, not the mother.   As she enters her teen years, her mom is entering her mid-late thirties or maybe her early forties. Momma no longer has the youthful figure that she had at 15 or 20 years of age, but she remembers. perfect-parent


Her daughter is beautiful and shapely.   Momma is proud of her.  Rather than helping her daughter to learn to dress tastefully and modestly, she allows or even encourages her to dress in ways that attract attention to her body.   I have many times been shocked at the alluring outfits that mom helped select for her daughter.

I think psychologists might use words such as transference or projection.  Others might say mom is living vicariously through her daughter.  However it is described, it is sad.   It is sad that mom is putting so much emphasis on outward beauty, which she knows changes and does not last.   It is sad that mom is passing along to her daughter her own inner struggles with self-image.

My own daughter was more sensible than I in this area.  I am proud that she dressed more modestly as a teen than did I as a teen.   As an adult, she has my permission to speak to me about my clothing if I wear something unflattering or too aged or too youthful or immodest.


Moms, no matter your size or shape, help your daughters to sail into womanhood with grace and style.  Perhaps together you could learn about fashion, styles, body shapes and discovering what looks best on each of you.  Teach your daughters to be discriminating and individuals not controlled by fads.    Hygiene, personal grooming, make up, and hair care are other areas that need to be taught.   Learning to do these well will instill personal confidence, which is very attractive.