Tuesday, April 18, 2017

What's wrong with playing with toys?

This IS the book you are looking for.Interesting story on Toy News: Adult toy fans fuel market growth

No great surprise to me. I've worked in IT. You find me a room of developers without at least one person with Star Wars toys on their desk and I'll be amazed.

Ask the room who has built some Lego in the last year and the chances it's someone without kids and a really fantastic but pricey model.

Let's face it, what I do is classed by "normal" people as playing with toys.

So what?

Why should toys be restricted to children?

If you are fortunate enough to have spare time once the basic needs of your family have been catered for, you will look for ways to fill it. For many this involves watching TV or shouting at footballers.

Others prefer to do things that require a bit more thought and that includes playing with stuff. As the article suggests, playing with things is a great stress-reliever. Some find comfort in objects that link them back to their youth or just the familiarity that a non-changing companion can provide. Nothing wrong with that either, unless you subscribe to the idea that we should always do the proper and expect thing, even if this makes us miserable. Which is better, to be "right" or to be happy?

Children learn a huge amount through play. I don't see why the same can't be said of adults. I know lots of people who enjoy developing their skills at activities that might be considered pointless such as painting tiny figures or bashing a ball around a field with a stick. Is a golf club any less of a toy than a plastic kit?

Anyway, at what age are you supposed to "put away childish things"?

The quote is from the developed from one in the bible: When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. I assume it refers to a time when growing up involved taking on responsibility for your family - but that was 2000 years ago, the world has changed. For the better generally.

And if that means we never have to grow up properly and leave fun behind us, that sounds fine to me.


Huw Griffiths said...

This reminds me of a job interview a number of years ago.

On the table, right in front of where I was directed to sit, were a large nut and bolt.

After all the usual interview questions, answers etc., one of the interview panel noticed that I'd "clocked" the nut and bolt - and then said why he'd put them there.

He wanted to see if people noticed the things - and if they started fiddling with them - well they were interviewing engineers.

Apparently, everyone had "clocked" them - and very few had the willpower to avoid "adjusting" them.

In a similar vein, at a lot of engineering related trade shows, it's noticeable how many stands have gadgets and brightly coloured items on them - to attract people's attention. These often have the desired effect - especially if they feature movement, flashing lights, or have buttons to press.

It's not unknown for visitors to pick the things up - just so we can work out what they are - only to put them back down again a few seconds later. Either that, or the people manning the stands get a stream of quetions along the lines of: "What's that all about?"

Perhaps this might also explain why, on a number of other stands, trade show exhibitors use Scalextrix, rollercoaster toys, Th*m*s toys and model trains (often as toy-like as possible) to provide "serious" demonstrations of how their products work. Yes - I'm sure that's the real reason why they use the things ... .

Well, it's either that or having large, highly detailed, static display models of actual trains - like they'll probably have on all the Chinese train builders' stands at Railtex (in the NEC in a few weeks' time).

Andy in Germany said...

This is a major bugbear for me, to the extent that I now hide modelmaking things when anyone comes. I'm fed up of people giving me patronising comments.

I don't understand why you can 'play' football, act as if it is important, and still be respected, but not 'play' with a model train, even though it requires a wider range of skills.

These skills moreove, are more usefull in life away from a big patch of grass and bag of wind. I got my carpentry training on the basis if a drawing I made for a locomotive I was building, and mush of my work at the moment draws on things I learned or gained the confidence to try when making models.

I'm increasingly convinced it is because people with different skills and a creative mindset are less likely to buy the cr*p big companies are trying to sell, and have a tendence to enjoy themselves anyway, which makes us rather immune to their attempts to meke us spend money, so they try and ridicule us instead. I see the same thing from car companies when portraying cyclists.

The bible quotation is from 1 Corinthians 13, the famous 'love' chapter, writen by Paul the apostle, who often wandered a bit when making a point. It is one of a series of examples of how we see things (God, and matters arising) now, and how we will see them in heaven, are different. A child views the world differently to an adult, he says, and we will see life differently in God's Kingdom. It isn't actually about 'growing up' in the sense of not being childish at all, just different perspectives. (in fact, if I was being pedantic, I'd point out that Jesus said we should accept the Kingdom of God "as a liitle child" but I won't...) Oh, wait...