• Britt Riner

The Problem of “Too Much Stuff” and the Opportunity it Brings

When we were kids, Berenstain Bears were a regular pull from our bookshelves. Today, we have rediscovered a favorite that is just right for Primerrily families this time of year (and it even comes with stickers!) -- The Berenstain Bears Think of Those in Need.




As loving parents, supplying our children’s needs and wants is our joy, but it can also be a stumbling block of sorts. We want them to be happy, but we don’t want them to feel entitled. We want to have a tidy house, but there is so much stuff that makes our house our home. Try as we do to help our kids understand that not every child enjoys the same opportunities or resources (kid speak: “fun and toys”) as they do, it’s a delicate task making that concept digestible for little ones. The holiday season gives us the chance to approach these goals in thoughtful and practical ways. It’s the ideal time to find tactile ways to clear your home -- and their hearts -- of items, toys, etc. no longer needed, and prepare to fill them with more good things (including material, educational, and experiential!).


Enter the Berenstain Bears book. It begins with a quick review of all the good food, toys, and activities the Bear family enjoys, and then it pivots --


“...it seemed, especially to Mama, that perhaps the Bears were enjoying too much of

a good thing. It was also clear to Mama, as she managed the tree house, that they

had a problem - a problem that came under the heading of Too Much Stuff.


Mama gets to a point where she just can’t take it anymore (sound familiar?) and she announces to her family, “This family has altogether too much stuff. It’s time to get rid of some of it.”


Brother and Sister Bear aren’t too thrilled upon first hearing this news, but once they realize that Mama and Papa are subject to the same rule of cleaning out the items they aren’t using, the cubs go along with her plan. They all make piles of their extra possessions and take family trips to a nursing home, a children’s hospital, and Goodwill store. At each stop, the cubs learn an important lesson about honoring their elders, remembering sick children, and helping those in need of food and housing. The book concludes with Sister Bear dropping a dollar bill into a Salvation Army bucket and a smiling Bear family heading “home with warm feelings about what they had done.”


Want to make this book come to life for your kids? Find out three ways you can help your

family develop the same warm feelings the Bear family did.



Other Berenstain Bears books with timely Christmas messages:

The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving

The Berenstain Bears and the Christmas Angel

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