Ever have those times where you hear or see something and it just makes you want to bang your head into inanimate objects until it all goes away? Well, I came across a wonderful one and I have to share the pain. Commence the concussions.
Recently Toys”R”Us released a lovely commercial (see below) about making children’s dreams come true. While I’m all for happy kids and dreams coming true, whoever thought of this commercial clearly believes the outdoors are the most boring, useless, and pointless space of all. There’s really no arguing what they may or may not have been trying to say. They could have picked any other subject matter to “bore” kids on, but they chose the outdoors and as a lifelong lover of the outdoors, I take offense. Go pick on something your own size (maybe another big box store).
I grew up as the kid who was almost constantly covered in mud, had no fear of bugs, and considered rocks, sticks, dirt, and snow my toys. I think my parents might have taken me into a big box toy store maybe a handful of times, but it was usually to find things like erector sets or things like that (which inevitably led to a degree in engineering). I somehow escaped the hypnotic lure of plastic playthings and anatomically incorrect plastic humans. I may not have appreciated this fully as a kid, but I’m so thankful now. Why? We’re raising a generation of outdoor hating, close minded, materialistic little minions. Crap. Whether we realize it or not, our shared natural spaces will be in their hands someday once they become politicians, business owners, decision makers, and voters. Terrified? I am.
So Toys”R”Us, I know you’ll likely never read this post, but to anyone who does and has a child, niece, nephew, or any other kid in your life – do everyone a favor. Instead of giving that kid free run of a toy store to make all their dreams come true, share your favorite part of the outdoors and show them why it matters. I’ll agree that identifying leaves isn’t the most thrilling thing about the outdoors, but there’s everything from catching frogs and fish, to rock climbing and snowshoeing, surfing, kayaking, and snow ball fights. It all counts and it’s a heck of a lot more fun than plastic. I promise. The outdoors is as exciting as you make it.