Once upon a time, there was a family with 4 young children. Over time, those children slowly stopped being thankful for what they had and started wanting more all of the time. The mom and dad didn’t quite catch on quickly enough, or maybe they just were in denial. But one day, when those sweet young children were whining and complaining about everything (or so it seemed, to the mother who was tired of listening to the fuss day in and day out) lost it.
She bade the children to sit on the couch and be still or quiet, or else (thankfully, the children obeyed and Mother didn’t have to try and decide what “or else” might mean.)
The frustrated Mother got out several big garbage bags and a few large bins. She started filling those bins with all of the hard toys. Then she brought the garbage bags upstairs and filled those up with stuffed animals and dolls.
Each child was allowed to keep one special toy to keep in their beds. Group activity toys, like dress-up clothes, blocks, LEGO, and playdoh, were spared. So were craft supplies, puzzles, and of course, books.
The rest, however, went into storage. And that was that.
And slowly, over time, the children started playing together more. They started being grateful for what they had, and they knew that if they complained too much about a toy they very well might lose it. After a month or so, if the children had kept good attitudes, they might get a toy back from storage. If the ungratefulness started to creep back in though, those toys might go back downstairs into storage. And while those sweet children sometimes get into a grump, as all of us do, the children learned to be grateful for what they have and to (well, sometimes) accept the answer of “no, you may not have that right now” without grumbling.
And that’s the story of the Mom who took away all of the toys.
Disclaimer: This story may or may not have taken place in my house. 😛