Toys and Memories

Each year Americans spend over twenty-four billion dollars on toys for their children. Most of these toys are disposable and are enjoyed for a few years, at best. They are made on high-speed automated machinery, untouched by human hands. Much of the price paid goes for packaging and advertising, rather than the toys themselves. Part of a toy's cost funds the creation of children's television; which is designed to instill desire in children for a toy manufacturer's latest products. This year's hit movie will spin off a complete line of toys that will need replacing when the next blockbuster film is released. Remember the toys that were part of your childhood. Do you think today's children will have similar memories of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Mighty Morphin Power Rangers? I hope your children will remember you when your grandchild gallops away on the horse you gave thirty years earlier. I hope they have a set of wooden blocks or a special doll from a special aunt. So few things in life are permanent today. We need to cultivate memories to insure they are always vivid.

I want you to give the children in your life not only better toys, but better memories. A wooden toy requires more of the child's imagination and creativity than the toy industry's current offerings. This means more play value, more education, more cognitive development. They cannot turn on the switch and watch it; they need to touch and manipulate it. They will combine it with other toys in ways completely unexpected. You have probably seen children who are more attracted to a shipping container than its contents. Children's imaginations are on high speed and need very little encouragement. Giving a basic toy of a natural material is even more special because of the relationship you share. "My grandpa/ma had it made specially for me.", is good to hear. And, since well made wooden toys will last far beyond us givers/makers, you get the memories as a bonus. I hope your children and grandchildren will have fond memories of you. Durable wooden toys will help call those memories to mind.


…when seeking work, or if you already have a job, it is important to keep in mind that a human being isn’t meant to be some kind of machine designed only for production. No. Human life isn’t just for work, like [a socialistic] vision where everyone’s purpose is just to work for the state, and there is no individual freedom, where the state even arranges the person’s vacations and everything is planned out for the individual. That is not a full human life. Individuality is very important for a full human life, and then accordingly some leisure time, a bit of holiday, and time spent with family or friends. That is the means to a complete form of life…. If your life becomes only a medium of production, then many of the good human values and characteristics will be lost – then you will not, you cannot, become a complete person.

So if you’re looking for work and have a choice of a job, choose a job that allows the opportunity for some creativity, and for spending time with your family. Even if it means less pay, personally I think it is better to choose work that is less demanding, that gives you greater freedom, more time to be with your family, or to do other activities, read, engage in cultural activities, or just play. I think that’s best.

The Dalai Lama

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