Let's face it, Karly. The teddy bear is the most creative and timeless toy design ever. It turns one of the smelliest and most fearsome animals into a kids' all-time favourite. Just the very pronunciation of the two words gives a cuddly feel to the classic toy.
The toy bear brings to mind warm thoughts about friendship, trust and comfort. To me, a teddy bear is no less adorable than a puppy, only it doesn't bark and do all that pointless running around.
When life gives me lemons, I don't need to make lemonade. I know I can always hold on to George (the tiny yellow T-shirt on his belly tells me that's his name) who lives in the wardrobe. Nothing beats hugging a teddy bear when you're feeling down.
Also, have you heard of the Build-A-Bear Workshop? Just to prove how popular bears are, the franchise has shops on six continents and 19 countries, offering customers a chance to create and decorate their very own teddy bear. I am sure plastic swords do not enjoy such popularity anywhere in the world.
Oh, and if you think teddy bears are just for kids, think again. People use the adorable toys as home decorations, substitutes for cushions or even wedding gifts. Honestly, I can't really associate any grown-ups with a plastic samurai sword, can you?
Oh Gareth, Gareth, Gareth. A huge part of childhood games is emulating adulthood, learning about grown-up situations through play. While an admittedly small proportion of the world's inhabitants join the armed forces or become fencers, toy swords, and other toy weapons, are about far more than that.
Playing games with goodies and baddies gives little kids a taste of morality: good and evil, right and wrong, power and protection. The baddies must be punished and the goodies claim victory. A sword fight often comes about because someone needs to be rescued, so a sword-wielding goodie learns about being a hero who protects and thinks of others.
Toy swords can also help children overcome their fears. If they have a way to "defend" themselves - an actual physical thing they can use to ward off the scary things - they'll feel braver.
Play isn't supposed to be real; just because you pretended to be a dog when you were six, you didn't magically transform into one when you hit your teens. Similarly, pretending to be a pirate, soldier, evil wizard, thief or ninja before you've even started primary school is unlikely to affect your career choices later in life.
Teddy bears have their time and place. But I'm not sure that time and place exists in the grown-up world. If someone gave me a teddy bear now, I'd seriously question our friendship. Anyone giving me a toy sword, however, clearly has a great sense of humour!
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