My daughters are 4 and 9 years old.  A few weeks ago their grandma gave them each a Barbie Doll.  My kids have not suffered from lack of toys, activities, or attention.  That said I have not given them toys that I feel give the wrong message.  I believe certain toys reflect the effectiveness of advertising and mass media.  The Barbie dolls are a prime example as I felt they did not project the idea that kids come in all shapes and sizes and not all have long hair, and the latest fashions.

However I have to say, my kids played with the dolls for hours the night the dolls  were given. I was amazed how the girls got lost in a world of their own wonderful imaginations. They created an ice skating show, fashion show, roller skating show, and they even shared clothes, boots, hair brushes, e.t.c.  I literally sat for 2 hours and was enthralled as they kept creating more ways to play.

I enjoyed seeing their expressions, smiles, and hearing their laughter and the monologues that came with each doll scenario they created.  It was a joy to witness their imaginations at work.  The girls had so much fun, and I have to admit that while I still think certain toys, and television shows give kids the wrong message, watching my girls play with their Barbie dolls I realized that their is more to them just having a pretty face, they actually can teach kids important values that include sharing, caring, and helping others.

So now I have a more open mind, and a happy heart.  This experience has shown me that it is good to be flexible in terms of forcing my internal beliefs onto my kids.  Moreover, it is good to let them play and discover their world.