Dr Ed­die Mur­phy

Fam­i­lies and the Toy Show

RTÉ Guide - - Contents - Men­tal Health & well- be­ing with Dr Ed­die Mur­phy

It’s my favourite fam­ily TV time of the year. The fire will be on and we will all wait for Ryan to get into a night of fun and ex­trav­a­ganza. Maybe some year I might get lucky and win tick­ets to the show! Of course, Christ­mas has started in the shops but for me, The Late Late Toy Show is the true start point for Christ­mas.

Fam­ily mem­o­ries

Cre­at­ing fam­ily mem­o­ries is cen­tral to the story of Christ­mas and the Toy Show is just such an op­por­tu­nity. It’s all about con­nect­ing with each other, an All-Ire­land slum­ber party with toys, singing and danc­ing. This time of year is your chance to forge fam­ily mem­o­ries. Fam­ily tra­di­tions be­come part of the ‘lan­guage’ of the fam­ily; they help keep us con­nected, an ex­pres­sion of unity that strength­ens fam­ily bonds. They pro­vide a sense of con­ti­nu­ity and feel­ings of be­long­ing. Fam­ily tra­di­tions nur­ture and fos­ter child­hood sta­bil­ity and se­cu­rity, sup­port­ing fam­ily well-be­ing and emo­tional health. De­cem­ber and the lead-up to Christ­mas is your chance to ex­press that most es­sen­tial fac­tor in your men­tal well­be­ing, your in­ner child. We were all once chil­dren and that child still dwells within us. For many, it’s for­got­ten, but it’s a healthy part of our adult per­son­al­ity. Our in­ner child knows that fun can be free and spon­ta­neous, with no guilt or anx­i­ety. Dur­ing the ev­ery­day, worka­day year, it is of­ten sup­pressed, de­nied, ne­glected, re­jected or even aban­doned. So­ci­ety told us to grow up and put away child­ish things, in­clud­ing our in­ner child’s ca­pac­ity for awe, in­no­cence, joy, em­pa­thy, sen­si­tiv­ity and play­ful­ness. But hey presto, the magic of the Toy Show is that it al­lows you to be­come a rounded adult psy­cho­log­i­cally, not just chrono­log­i­cally, by al­low­ing your in­ner child soar.

Your in­ner child can be a great source of pos­i­tive en­ergy and you can carry for­ward this pos­i­tiv­ity into all as­pects of your life. This pos­i­tive at­ti­tude is the foun­da­tion of liv­ing a con­tented and au­then­tic life, in which you are your real self.

Un­scripted mo­ments

For me, it’s the un­scripted mo­ments that make the Toy Show mag­i­cal. It’s the same in life. Al­low your­self to charter the un­scripted wa­ters and get be­yond your com­fort zone, for that’s where magic hap­pens. For me, the toys are just props for the real magic dust of the show, which is its abil­ity to bring fam­i­lies to­gether and en­hance our re­la­tion­ships and well-be­ing. It’s a na­tional en­gine for pos­i­tiv­ity.

Take the op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate other fam­ily tra­di­tions. Use ev­ery­day rou­tines such as bed­time, tak­ing a mo­ment to talk, read, pray, snug­gle up or re­flect on three good things that hap­pened to­day. This ‘3 Good Things’ tra­di­tion helps you and your chil­dren ori­en­tate to­wards a pos­i­tive and grate­ful out­look. Psy­chol­ogy shows that grate­ful peo­ple tend to be hap­pier, health­ier and more ful­filled. When we strip it all back to mem­o­ries and feel­ings, these mem­o­ries cen­tre around love, warmth, safety and nur­tur­ing. As a par­ent, grand­par­ent, un­cle or aunt, you are try­ing to cre­ate this key emo­tional ex­pe­ri­ence for chil­dren, so they can thrive. It’s what a so­ci­ety needs in or­der to thrive too. Thank­fully, the Toy Show is not only for chil­dren. I love that my par­ents, Joanie and Billy, who have al­most 160 years be­tween them, will also let their in­ner child out. They can’t wait!

A tribe of elves

On Toy Show night, fam­i­lies all over the coun­try will be syn­chro­nized with the true spirit of Christ­mas; a tribe en­gaged in magic-mak­ing. So sprin­kle some Christ­mas magic dust and let your in­ner child soar.

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