The social science study of American families ("Life at Home in the 21st Century") that Beth Teitell wrote about in yesterday's Globe -- that people have "too much stuff, too little time" -- struck home. I have a closet that has a pile of some my son's childhood toys that I'm saving for the grandchildren. My son? Adult, single, happy.
Teitell interviewed a woman whose 2-year-old daughter has a kitchen set with 400 accessories. The little girl doesn't play with them, she'd rather be watching TV, her mom said. I also bet she'd rather play with the plastic storage containers in her mom's cabinet -- trust me, I know they are there -- than with the toy. To that mom, I also would point out that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation is for children 2 or under not to watch TV. This inability to process commercials is one reason why.
For a more nuanced read on the same topic, I suggest this piece in The New Yorker, "Spoiled Rotten, Why do kids rule the roost?" by Elizabeth Kolbert.
My take on all this? There's no denying we are all -- adults and children alike -- products of our culture. There's also no denying that we have created the culture, generation by generation. Time to take it back. Here are some sites that can help:
Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood;
"The Story of Stuff;"
Alliance for Childhood; Center for a New American Dream; Common Sense Media and Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children's Entertainment, also known as TRUCE.
More from this blog on: Barbara's Mailbag