Wants, needs, and deprivations
A few days ago, I was in line at a store behind a lady and her granddaughter. The little girl had a stuffed animal, and she was whining and wheedling for the grandmother to buy it.
The pleading reached an emotional crescendo as Grandmother unloaded her purchases at the cash register. At the very end of the transaction, she bought the stuffed animal and handed it to her granddaughter. The little girl's tears vanished, a smile appeared, and (thank goodness!) a sudden quiet fell upon our little corner of the store.
The woman turned to me and explained that she never had a stuffed animal when she was a child. She wouldn't have dared to ask for one. That's why she buys stuffed animals for her granddaughter, she said. She has sixty stuffed animals in her home; some are for her grandchildren, but some are just for herself.
I don't remember a stuffed animal that belonged exclusively to me when I was little. My sister had a teddy bear, and I think there was a stuffed horse in the toy box that my mom had made. It didn't bother me not to have a personal stuffed animal. I had various dolls, and they were enough.
My children had dozens of stuffed animals that they had received as gifts from friends and relatives. I wonder if the popularity of stuffed animals as a gift suggests a repressed yearning amongst adults. Or do adults like to give stuffed animals so they can feel virtuous about giving a toy without batteries? Then again, maybe adults like stuffed animals simply because we have a biological predisposition to respond to big-eyed, soft, baby-sized critters.
It is sad to think of children who don't have many toys. My parents grew up during the Depression, and like many people their age, they didn't have many frivolities in their lives when they were children. My mother had one beloved dolly. My dad remembered blocks of wood to play with instead of toys, and an orange as his only Christmas gift. And there were other, much more serious lacks and losses and stresses and sorrows in their little lives.
When my parents married, they decided they would create a happy home together. As I look back at the childhood they gave me, it's hard for me to feel deprived about much of anything. (Well, I should admit that I felt deprived when I was a child because we didn't have a television. However, I've come to think of that as an advantage.)
Millions of children are truly deprived. Many lack the most basic necessities of life. Your generosity can make a big difference in their lives. Please consider a donation to a reputable charity that helps children.