By Brandy Black
I’ll admit it: my family is over-scheduled. Most of the time I blame my wife for this, but the truth is I run our kids ragged, too. I’m always looking to ensure that they are exposed to anything and everything that might open their hearts and minds to the world’s possibilities.
On the other hand, the longer I am a mom, the more I’m starting to understand an essential parenting fact: it’s good to just let a child be “bored” and see what comes from it. Kids don’t always need dance classes, museum trips, or a special art lesson to expand their horizons. The other day, stirred by the silence in my usually boisterous house, I jumped up to see what the kids were up to and found all three in one room, quietly and contentedly creating universes and other fantasies that only they could visualize.
A recent video called “Imagine the Possibilities” shows five little girls inhabiting the roles of their dream careers all before unsuspecting, but charmed, adults. A mini professor instructs her classroom of college students on the biology of the brain; a little executive takes a business call in a crowded airport terminal; a veterinarian in a tiny lab coat welcomes her furry patients in the exam room, much to the surprise of their human owners.
The video is adorable to say the least, and resolves to a simple truth: when a little girl plays with Barbie, she imagines everything she can become.
Full disclosure: I only recently permitted my oldest daughter to begin playing with Barbie. And that was only after their executive team, fascinated with my wife’s and my perspectives on Barbie, came to our house to visit for a documentary project that I agreed to participate in. We had a lively conversation about our concerns over Barbie’s image and how that might affect our children, especially our daughters.
It was actually very interesting speaking with them about how willing and open the brand is to changing with the times. Barbie is an iconic part of our history and there’s no reason she can’t change with the rest of the world and keep her spot on the shelves. Certainly, the fact that the Barbie team sat with two disapproving lesbian moms is a step in the right direction.
The execs generously offered our oldest daughter a Barbie of her choosing. Since landing at our house, Mermaid Barbie has visited exotic lands far, far away (the kitchen), swam the depths of the deepest oceans (in our tub), and basked on warm beaches with her closest friends (stuffed animals). She’s even enjoyed a fancy tea party with me, where I got to hear all about her fascinating sea-life discoveries.
“Imagine the Possibilities” is a refreshing take on open-play and what excites a child most about a world without boundaries. I remember being a little girl, imagining all I could be some day and now I see it in my own children: the joy of re-inventing one’s self through play. There is validity to “old-school” toys that don’t walk, talk, or pee, but simply allow a kid to be a kid.
Barbie, you go girl!