Friday, March 9, 2012

The Buddy Bear

I don’t want to sound like a cranky old lady, but when I was growing up, we did not have computers, or any type of electronics for that matter. For entertainment we had one television set with two antennas sticking out behind it; and after finishing our homework, we would usually go outside and play with friends, or stay home and play with the limited number of toys we had.

Apparently, the times have changed. The room of my seven-year-old has piles of toys, books, games, which he only plays with if I make him. Well… I can’t really blame him since somehow we allowed him to become computer proficient since age two, and later allowed him to take over his dad’s iPad and infest it with numerous Game Apps.

Last Friday, when I was outside the classroom waiting to pick up Alex after school, I was greeted by a cute bunch of toothless first graders who announced that Alex was chosen to be the Star Of The Week for the next week.  Oh my, I thought, does that mean we will have to spend the coming weekend doing special “about me” projects? I had other plans! 

My plans were instantly forgotten the moment I saw Alex coming out of the classroom. He had a big proud smile on his face and an old teddy bear in his hands. He felt so special. He was the Star of the Week!

Meet Buddy Bear, a stuffed toy that Alex’s teacher purchased from a toy store five years ago. Apparently, Buddy Bear was taken home by every week’s Star Of The Week… for the last five years!

That evening I found Alex showing his toys and games to the Buddy Bear and planning their week’s activities together, and the iPad was nowhere in their proximity. So what happened? Was it because the Bear was something new to play with? Or was it because Buddy Bear had a special story? Or was it because Alex just needed a friend?

I guess, no matter what times we live in, we are still the same social animals who crave personal communication, who respond to ideas and symbols. The Buddy Bear was not just a bear, he was a special friend who was visiting for a week… That is a special feeling which we, adults, somehow always forget…

As I hung out with Alex and Buddy, we talked about what we should write on the Star Of The Week poster, and what we should show our special guest Buddy. We thought about the kids who had Buddy in their homes as guests – they may be now as old as thirteen and most likely don’t remember Buddy. 

And even though I know that very soon Alex will forget this special day too, I will love spending my weekend creating the Star Of The Week posters and photographs with Buddy Bear, and will keep them in a special place.

Simple pleasure? I think so. And this one is to treasure…

With love, always,
xo Zuma A

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