Thinking back on childhood toys, nothing really has changed. The toys are the same, but the way play with them is different.
Take for instance----crayons or pencils. In kindergarten, we learn to color in the lines and draw funny shapes. That is one way of expressing ourselves. We move into higher grades in school, and we graduate to ink pens . Sometimes we spend hours expressing ourselves on paper. This we learned as a small child and continue with that practice as adults.
How many times have we taken our toy cars on road trips or put Barbie in her convertible to cruise through town? Every day we take our cars now to get to our workplace. Or perhaps we use our car as a get-away-vehicle for the Quick Pic we just robbed.
Years ago they used to make candy cigarettes. Oh the fun we had pretending to be our parents smoking! Now, we don't have to pretend. We smoke the real thing. Maybe even our playing goes a little further. We might smoke marijuana, or even crack. Yeah, same toys--different effects.
What about playing grown-up? Do you remember that favorite baby doll you considered your very own? Well, some of us ended up with our very own baby doll--our very own live baby doll! You know! The kind that cries real tears and is dependant on us for their every need? Some of us were even having "real" babies when we should have still been playing "pretend babies".
I think that maybe we should encourage children to stay children just a little bit longer. Don't give up those pretend toys and games for the real thing. It just might not be what you bargained for!
Allyson Bowlds, Owensboro Community College, Spring 2002