For those old enough to have witnessed them all come and go over the years, we have a new craze sweeping school yards across the nation. Step aside yoyos, hula hoops, elastics, knucklebones, hand balls, Tamagotchis, Pokémon and bottle flipping. The latest fad to hit our schools is something known as a ‘fidget spinner’.
It is a small, inane device, originally designed to help children with sensory processing disorders keep calm. It is a usually a three-pronged weighted shape that spins...that’s all it does—spin. And while some will try to find new and innovative ways to spin it, its prime purpose is to...spin. It spins based on how fast or slow you push it and is surprisingly effective to play with and mesmerising to watch.
I was investigating purchasing a fidget spinner just prior to their popularity exploding. One of my children has sensory processing issues and can’t concentrate unless his fingers are busy. Unfortunately I didn’t buy one when I first thought about it, so when it was time to purchase one there was not a single fidget spinner to be found in our location.
In fact, one of the stores that was stocking them kept selling out within minutes once supplies were replenished. For a while these spinners were the latest ‘must have’ thing in the school yard, becoming such a problem that many schools have banned their presence on the school grounds.
We have multiple spinners at our home now, and all of us have found them surprisingly useful to play with in our thinking and processing times. On one of the spinners we purchased there was some printing on the box it came in. In big letters it read: “Spin your stress away”. This slogan made me smile at the ploy to pitch this inane little trend as a stress solution.
But it also made me a little sad; the idea that people might pin their hopes on this toy eradicating their stress. Yes, it is a surprisingly calming device for some people, but the cause of the stress that you might be facing doesn’t magically disappear because you give your spinner a whirl. The stressors will still be there when you eventually put the spinner down. You can momentarily escape feeling your stress, but that’s about it.
Fortunately, I have a better stress reliever. It’s knowing I’ve got God on my side. There is a fantastic verse in the Bible that says, “Cast all your anxiety on [God] because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7) and it reminds me that I can throw my stress at God and he will help me through it.
Like the spinner, he doesn’t take away the things that are stressing me, but he does help me face them. Unlike the spinner, he helps me endure them, he helps me ascertain if they are actually something I need to stress about at all, and he reassures me that, whatever the outcome, it will be okay because he is with me.