Toys for Tots: The Sequel

>    It isn’t often that I revisit a news story I previously commented on but this whole Mattel/Fischer-Price toy recall continues to be fraught with issues we really need to address. 
    Two days ago, in my blog entry “Toys for Tots” I quoted the CEO of Mattel, Bob Eckert, as stating “Nothing is more important that the safety of our children.” In that piece, I pondered what the world would be like if that statement were universally true.
    Such was the point of my entry, although I did note in closing the irony that all of these toxic and dangerous toys are being outsourced at Mattel’s discretion to China, a country that has no child labor laws.
    On second thought, however, that point needs more than a passing glance. It deserves it’s own entry and this is it.
    If Mattel really cared about children, and not just the financial bottom line, the obvious would occur. They would not outsource to a country that 1)uses child labor and 2) so disregards and devalues female children that their orphanages (and their streets) are filled with female infants, toddlers and homeless young girls that nobody wanted.
    That’s China’s problem. Mattel’s problem is that they are hypocrites. Our problem is that we aren’t doing anything about it. What can we do, you say?
    “Don’t buy Fischer-Price or Mattel toys” comes the reply.   
    Now I know that would put added pressure on you from your child based upon their ongoing manipulation by multi-media advertisements that promote the latest and greatest toy that he or she simply has to have. And I know it makes your life a little more challenging because then you have to find alternative toys with which to engage your child.
    But here’s the thing.
    If you know that the manufacturer is deliberately and willfully choosing to do business in and with a country that devalues human rights and human life, and if you deliberately and willfully continue to purchase those toys and thereby support such policies and behavior, then you become the problem… because you see a better way and consciously choose not to choose it.
    I don’t give advice in a vacuum.
    We have a 14-year-old daughter who I often refer to in my blogs. While she’s beyond the Mattel/Fischer-Price age for the most part, we are still daily challenged to limit, or sometimes refuse, purchases and pursuits that are “in” because not to do so would violate particular beliefs or strong opinions that we espouse. My husband and I hope that in the big picture, seeing us hold fast to our principles will serve her far better than ownership of some trendy and disposable item. So we live the difficulties of choice… but we also live the rewards.
    Did I mention our daughter is from China?
    We adopted her when she was 2 years old. She survived those first two years no thanks to the non-existence of her birth country’s human rights policy…or Mattel’s business practices, for that matter.
    Perhaps that’s why this story seems to stick with me a little longer than most.

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