During the previews before the movie began, we heard from creators of the new Toy Story 3 video game. One of the comments that they made was, "kids are playing less with toys in the ways that we used to." Imaginative play is less common in today's world, so they created a "toy box" feature on the current game to encourage children to be creative. While I listened to their statements, I realized how true it is that a lot of kids are letting go of their "plain jane" toys at a younger age in favor of the latest tech savvy device.
Today's kids are expected to act older at a much younger age. Maybe some of the persuasion comes from adults, but a great deal comes from their peers. From t-shirts, to lunch boxes, to what they watch on tv and in the movies, there is pressure from classmates to lose the "baby-ish" characters.
Buzz & Woody are loved, but at 7 years old, my young son already feels that kids around him may think it's just for "little kids." I'm sad that today's children, mine included, are growing up far too quickly. Andy, who was just a young child in the first two Toy Story films, is all grown up now. Although he's heading off to college, he held on to some of his favorite toys all of these years because they inspired the character's imagination (and even some of our's). I'd like to picture my boys holding on to some of the special parts of childhood, just like Andy did.
There's always going to be pressure to fit in, but following your heart and being true to yourself is much more important. I hope my boys will embrace who they are and what they love... even if it's not the cool thing to do. Childhood will be gone soon enough, so I don't want them to give it up too quickly.
Have you struggled with seeing your kids grow up? How young were they when they started to feel the pressure to act older? Do you think today's kids are acting older earlier? Any advice for those of us seeing our kids starting to feel the pressure not to be "little" kids anymore? Have you seen Toy Story 3? Did you enjoy it? Did you cry?