Game of Toys

Since Ege and I both don’t have any kids, we usually avoid the subject of children to avoid the risk of pontificating. However, I would like to say a few things about something I have witnessed on numerous occasions: constantly buying children presents. For I too once was a child!

When I think about my childhood there are, of course, memories of presents that brought a smile to my face. My Barbie house, my talking and walking doll, my translucent watch, my purple Chucks. Out of all the things I received those few items are the ones I can recount immediately. And that’s simply because when I think about my childhood I don’t remember the objects that were given to me but the experiences that I lived through. Travels, sleepovers, train rides, beach days, conversations on the balcony, the plays we wrote and acted out with my family, evenings filled with music, and so much more…I think that beneath my happy childhood lies the generous amount of time and unconditional love that was given to me.

Perhaps there are those who’ll argue that I’m being too emotional and that today’s children are much more perceptive. In this situation it’s beneficial to examine the relationship between humans versus possessions/experiences.

During a study, participants were asked to rate their satisfaction before and after the purchase of an item or an experience on a scale from one to seven. The response to the question, “Do you feel your money will be well spent?”was rated at 4.41 for items and 2.90 for experiences. However, after the purchase the same question received a 4.67 for items and 5.42 for experiences. Perhaps the illusion that possessions are lasting and that experiences are temporary can explain the higher rate of satisfaction before the purchase. However, the result proves that we quickly become bored with our skill to acclimatize. And children are definitely the masters of that particular field!

Children won’t remember the number of super smart toys they had, but will smile at the memories of shared experiences with their families. Show them that they are not the sum of their possessions, but a sum of their memories.


Photo: My mother or my father. 

27 July 1983


Translated by Feride Yalav-Heckeroth

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