My sister received a Teddy Ruxpin talking bear when we were younger. He was amazing in all of his 1985 glory. Story-telling, cuddling, all of it. He was the best!
Since I was two years younger, I received Grubby, the faithful sidekick. Grubby did not talk on his own and required a cord to connect to Teddy. Without Teddy, Grubby was useless. He could not talk, he just sat there, waiting for Teddy to come back.
While the intent was for the two of us to have something together, the reality was that when my sister was upset with me, she would take Teddy away and leave me with Grubby.
The trend followed suit with our video games, though we did not have many, as it wasn’t our thing, She was Mario, and I, of course, was Luigi.
When we played Barbie’s when we were little, more often than not, I played Ken in the acted out scenarios.
I was Raggedy Andy to her Raggedy Anne.
These were not hard and fast rules but tended to be the norm. They were generally accepted by both of us to be the way of things.
As an adult, I have wondered how much of those roles and dynamics of childhood have played into who we are as adults.
I no longer play second to my sister (or most people really). I tend to push ahead and follow what I want.
The important message that I feel being the younger sibling has taught me is contentment.
I did not pick to play with Grubby. Most people don’t pick Luigi on their own. No little girl wants to be Ken. Most people don’t even have a clue what Raggedy Anne’s brother’s name is if they even know he exists.
However, playing the part of the “second toy” is not something that bothers me as I look back. I have nothing but fond memories of those times with my sister. We still laugh about the silly games that we played.
As an adult, I tend to be able to find contentment in most situations.
It seems that the word, contentment, is often misunderstood. Contentment is not being complacent. It is not settling. It is not giving up. Contentment is described as a state of happiness and satisfaction. It is looking at where you are and finding the joy and peace in the moment.
Contentment is finding peace in where you are so that you can gather your strength and bearings before pressing on.
Though I am not where I would like to be in my career, I am on the road.
I am content where I am. In my professional life, in my personal life, on the road to my goals.
This is the lesson we need to teach to our children. Contentment is not something to be afraid of.
We can refuse to settle, while also not hating where we are at the moment.
Life is a journey. Sometimes, like with Grubby, we need others like Teddy Ruxpin to make it all work.
I want my kids to learn that too many people spend so much of their time looking at what others have, comparing it to what they have. Life is not a competition.
We can all take some time to look around where we are and find a few things to be happy about, to be content with.