Monday, December 29, 2008


This year for Christmas, our family decided to donate some toys to a needy family. I can't take credit for the idea, as it was all inspired by my wife. In her online activities, she came across a single parent family online here in Memphis who was in need. As a former single mom herself, she made the decision to donate toys to this woman and her 3 kids who are all girls.

As a family we spoke about it, and decided that since we're financially strapped like so many, we would donate the old toys of the kids. Now mind you, we donated old used toys, but please believe, the majority of them were like brand new. Some of them were hardly even used over the years. My wife met the lady, gave her the toys, and she was truly appreciative. She even sent us an email expressing her gratitude, as she said that she was unable to provide for her kids due to financial constraints. I must admit, it felt really good to do something as small as that for someone else. Hopefully God caught that act on surveillance tape.

Thinking of toys, and seeing commercials for toys this year, I couldn't help but to think of the impact these toys have on kids. They have so much of an impact that there's a rating system for appropriateness. And hell why not? Violent acts are often blamed on video games these days. I guess its just the sign of the times. Back in my day, as a kid, playing with those little green army men and the many cap guns didn't have a negative effect on me.

But then again, maybe its because I had responsible parents. Not saying that parents today or in recent years are irresponsible and not in tune with the type of toys they give to their kids. But if you're gonna blame toys for today's violent and insensitive society on video games, and toy guns, can't we blame today's problem with teenage pregnancies on little girls receiving baby dolls? Seriously, let me know in your comments your thoughts on this.

I don't have a son, but if I did, I'd be conscientious of the toys I gave him as I am with my daughters. Trust me, I took good care not to buy the pregnant teenage project Barbie years ago for my now teenage daughters. As a matter of fact, what they need to produce are doll babies that actually spit real puke on little girls. Sure they have fake ones, but nothing is as good as the real thing. I'm willing to bet (since I can't blame parenting...*wink*) that the trauma of having real puke on your face. Or even having to clean stinky baby doll poop, might be a deterrent for teenage pregnancies.

This is why next Christmas I'm gonna have a special charity in my heart. Thanks to my wife, I now have a new focus for the holidays. Starting next year, I'm gonna do my part and donate toys. I'm gonna concentrate my efforts on boys. Yup, I sure am. Matter of fact, I think I'll just start a foundation. Its gonna be called...

Toys For Jehovah Witness Tots.


Have you seen Michael Jackson lately?

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He grew up in a Jehovah Witness household; a very strict one I might add. And look at how fucked up he turned out. I mean look at him. He looks like a cross between the Green Hornet and a Ninja Turtle. And you wanna know why? Because as a Jehovah Witness kid, he grew up in a household where they didn't celebrate Christmas. He played with mice for Christ sakes!

Sure he was/is a talented entertainer, but had he gotten toys for Christmas, he would have probably been a normal kid. Seriously, were he given baby dolls as a kid for Christmas, he probably would have never grown up to be an "alleged" molester of little boys. He may have been more like RuPaul if that had happened. But at least he would not have been hanging babies out of windows. The same thing could probably be said for kids raised in Jewish or Muslim homes, but they don't walk around looking lost like poor Mike.

I'm just sayin...

maybe it could help reduce the door knocking thing...

its the thought that counts.

QUESTION: Do you believe kids are impacted by the toys they receive? Are gender roles defined by the type of toys they receive as opposed to the effect of parenting?


Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

Merry Christmas and Kwanzaa, Rippa! That was really, really nice what your wife and you did for that family, and I'm sure "God caught that act on surveillance tape." Oh man, that line cracked me up!

So you want to know what folks think about the impact of toys. I'm glad you wrote about this as I hadn't seen one of these in a long time.

I'll put it this way: the military discovered years ago that violent video games desensitize people. I saw this happen in my own son when he hit 13, but for him it was a combination of listening to violent music and the games. I didn't buy them, but he accessed them at the homes of friends.

When your lil guy gets older, I'd suggest sticking to sports games. While he's young, give him a cardboard box to play with; hell, he won't remember it and you'll save a bundle. At two and three, a ball and art supplies - and at three or four, I see no harm in water guns or cap guns or those cool electronic space guns. Lots will disagree with me there, but the generations of the 50s, 60s and 70s didn't turn out desensitized.

I didn't buy my daughter the pregnant Barbie either. Now, if at nine she said she was dying to become an obstetrician, I'd have gotten one and maybe two along with a Dr. Barbie, but since she wants to be a celebrity lawyer (rather than a groupie of celebrities), I didn't.

Take care and see you around.
~ Kit

uglyblackjohn said...


It's not the toys as much as it's the lack of parental imput. My little cousins play GTA but I ask them who they know that's like the characters. They can name all the guys from the hood who are in jail or dead from doing such video game acts in real life. The sports games are good for helping them understand the X's and O's by the time they need to learn to read a playbook. Letting them see the end results of driving like a Need For Speed game helps them understand the consequences. Explaining how and what to prioritize (armour, weapons, etc.) in a fighting game can be used to help them learn organization skills.
It comes down to the parenting (or lack of).

msladydeborah said...

I am glad that you had the joy of giving from your donation. It is a good feeling to give someone something that they can use and appreciate. You and your spouse are to be commended for your open hearts.

I believe that toy purchases are important enough for parents to spend some time thinking before buying.

I purchased toys beginning in the seventies and ended that trend during the ninties. I saw the difference in the type of items that were being produced and sold on the mass market.

I feel that it is on the parent to determine if the toys are worth the investment. I have larned over the years that there are some items that just were not that great after we purchased them.

Kim said...

Awww that lil girl in the pic
is a cutie and I want to bring her
home with me..:-)

blackberry said...

Aren't you such a sweetie! Your thinking is good, adn so are many of the poster's comments.
What comes to mind for me is the traditional geeky fields of science and nature.
Lots of structure, organization, why things work the wayt they do, etc can be learned here.
And parenting is everything, but the 'toys' are terrible these days, especially the violent games we've all mentioned. Gender just isn't that important to me, cause we all deserve nuturing and gentle respect for our feelings.
p.s. What a sweetbaby in the pic!

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

Rippa, show this really cute blog to your wife. If you two ever have a baby girl, she might really enjoy the idea of making dolls with her daughter as a joint project. Hmmm... or maybe even some stuff animals with y'all's son.

Little Pan African Cloth People

Mahoganydymond said...

Oh my... I have a real big issue with the Baby Dolls.. I feel that baby dolls teach little girls so many different things. It teaches them how to be a mother. Well that is good in the way future. It also gives little girl lost hope. I used to love have baby dolls they were every where. I remember my mother telling me that one day I will be a mother and have my real babies.. Well I am in my early 30's and been told by several doctors that I can not carry a child to full term. So I think I am scarred.

So yes some toys to make an impact on kids..
I just think it is the way they are brought up also. I feel that if some parents pay close attention to their kids, then some of what goes on today wouldn't be going on.

Also what you and your family did was wonderful..

Siditty said...

I think they are to an extent impacted by toys they receive, but it is ultimately the parents that impact the children. I have known many a big brawny men, who as children played with dolls at 3 and 4 years old, they didn't because feminine because of it, I played with tonka trucks, but I am not considered masculine by many. I think that gender roles are much more hardwired into our system and can't be altered easily by environment.

Anonymous said...

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