Tuesday, November 22, 2011


I have a theory about the discontent and frustration felt by the #occupy people:  They had bad toys as kids.

My wife and I were in the toy department of an area store a few weeks ago when I suggested we get one of the kids an "Ernie" doll from Sesame Street.  My wife dismissed the idea saying "He doesn't even 'do anything'"  Technically, she was correct.  It wasn't "Tickle Me Ernie" or "Rockin' Dancin' Ernie" or "Read To Me Ernie".  A child who got that doll would have had to use their imagination to make Ernie "come to life".

That's when I noticed that just about every other toy in the department did "do something".  They would move in pre-programmed ways, or make a certain noise when a button was pushed, or light up when shaken.  Even the books nowadays read themselves.  It's like children can no longer be expected to take an inanimate object and use their own creativity to make it "fun".


When I was a kid, there were far fewer "electronic" toys on the market--we had to be the "voice" the "motor" and  the "program" for our toys.  Those Fisher-Price Little People?  They spent more time playing football or basketball on the floor of my bedroom than they did working the farm they actually came with.  Matchbox Cars didn't follow streets on "sold seperately" mats.  They took part in car chases over and around furniture--or they raced to the "bar and back" in the basement.  And the few video games that we had didn't include "shortcut codes" to skip ahead to advanced levels without "earning" your way there.

And that leads me back to my theory about the #occupy folks.  These young people grew up with toys that did all the work for them.  Elmo always had his own voice, the cars raced around their own tracks and buttons decided what a toy would do.  There was no need to come up with their own games or adventures--everything was pre-packaged for them.  And now that they are out in the "real world", they are frustrated there isn't that "button" to push to make things happen--and they don't know what to do now.  So they sit on the floor and they pout--until someone comes along to give them what they want.

Unfortunately, we are buying the little ones the toys with all the bells and whistles.  But I won't be disappointed if they have more fun playing with the boxes or the wrapping paper on Christmas morning.

No comments:

Post a Comment