Thursday, March 20, 2008

Concerned Parent Questions Care Bears

I have been exposed to a lot of Care Bears over the last week of babysitting, and I have to say that I am a bit concerned about what kind of message they are sending our children.

Now let me be clear. I loved the Care Bears growing up. Their cool Cloudmobiles, the Care Bear Stare, their quest to defeat the bad guys and achieve good in the world, all through the power of caring. Good stuff. If you recall, the original bears were Bedtime, Birthday, Cheer, Friend, Funshine, Good Luck (my personal favorite), Grumpy, Love-A-Lot, Tenderheart, and Wish. They had a tv series, some tv specials (personal favorite: The Care Bears Battle the Freeze Machine), and even a few movies. Over time, more bears were added, and eventually the Care Bear Cousins (animals of other sorts that also had cool symbols on their bellies) were created. In my humble opinion, the Cousins eventually led to the declining popularity of the Care Bears. Or it might have been the onset of that uncool time known as the 1990s. Anyway....

Today's primary Care Bears are Share, Cheer, Funshine, Grumpy, and Oopsy, and they are accompanied by a cast of somewhat lesser bears. However, their signature song, rather than featuring the "Care Bear Countdown," now features some trendy teenage chickie playing (or more accurately, pretending to play) various guitars designed with Care Bear symbols while modeling a variety of coordinating clothing. For further information regarding the Care Bear evoltion, I would suggest Wikipedia. Yes, I have looked up Care Bear information online. Don't judge.

Anyway, every single morning this week has started with Bekah saying, "I want to watch my Care Bears movie!" Before the actual video, though, there are previews for two movies about the "new" Care Bears. It is the songs that the characters sing about these videos that gives me some parental concerns. Consider:

from "Journey to Joke-A-Lot":
In the land of Joke-A-Lot
Everybody laughs a lot
Don't have to work all day
Just have to joke and play
We laugh the whole day through
As long as the joke's on you

Now really, what is that teaching today's children? Poor work ethic. Jokes at others' expense. Worrisome stuff. As if that wasn't bad enough, consider their other feature film:

from "The Big Wish Movie":
A wish is the best
No disappointment or tears
If something bad happens
I make it disappear
If there's something I want
There's no need to fret
There's no wish limit on
All the things I can get
I wish all my troubles away
All my dreams come true
I wish for the sky everyday
And I can wish it for you
Why would I wait
For what a wish can create
Why should I work so hard
I wish...... 'cause wishing is great.

For starters: I hear you, brother bear. It would certainly be wonderful to have a life with no problems, where I get whatever I want immediately and never have to work. However, my life seems to be rather opposite of what the song portrays. Now maybe I'm just jealous of Wish Bear, but I'm thinking that he is giving children a false perception of what their lives can be like. And we wonder why kids grow up completely spoiled, thinking they can have whatever they want and never have to work for anything.

A disclaimer: I have not actually seen either movie, so perhaps the Care Bears learn valuable lessons during the films that show them the error of their musical ways. We can hope, anyway.

Ben thinks I have lost it because rather than discussing politics, current news, or any sort of "important" issue, I have been delivering dinnertime diatribes on the evil values that the Care Bears are teaching our youth. It's hard not to notice, though, when Bekah and Bryn run around the house singing the songs (Bekah with a lot more clarity than Bryn).

Okay, so I'm only partially serious about this, but I have to have something to contemplate during the day, right? I think the kids need to come up with a new hobby. Finding Nemo, anyone?


Andrea said...

LOL I didn't mean to start something with that Care Bear - it was just cute and purple. :) If it makes you feel any better, Hannah got Sunshine Bear (which she walks around calling "shine bear") from Jen for Christmas. I haven't seen any videos because Hannah's came with a game which I am sad to admit I have played a few times. In my defense, one of the games is like dominos and another is like Pong. LOL

Melissa said...

First: when I was 4 years old, I really wanted Funshine Bear for Christmas. Well, either Funshine wasn't available in P-town or she was too expensive or maybe my mom was just being crafty, but my mother decided to make me a Funshine Bear for Christmas. When I opened the package on Christmas morning I inspected the bear for a moment and then proclaimed, "Mom, the elves didn't do a very good job on this one."

At any rate, I am totally with you on the Care Bear concerns, along with every other piece of crap that children are playing with today. Kids in the US grow up with this sense of entitlement and inability to deal with anything that doesn't go their way.

Nicaraguan kids are totally different. What were the 2 things that 12-year old Eduardo wanted most in the world? A flashlight, so he could more safely ride his bike home at night on the treacherous road after a long day of riding around the island trying to sell the bread and cheese his mother made. And a good pair of shoes.

I'll wait to hear your report on Finding Nemo....

Jason Dittle said...
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Anonymous said...

Our lil one is in love with Jungle Book. Says I wanna watch Mogoli! In a nice 2yr old way.. but lots of bears, elephants, snakes, monkeys.. etc.. could make for an nice alternative.
Except I have caught myself at work whistling bear necessities. (slight drawback)

Trisha (w/Jay's help)

Jill said...

Now Amy... I remember a morning in which you wanted to hide the Finding Nemo DVD and never get it out again ;) As for my childhood obsession, I think it was Popples? and My little Ponies... :) Then onto Barbe and Little Pet Shop! Just think what you have to look forward to! :)

amypfan said...

Jill, I was just waiting for someone to get my reference to Bryn's pre-Care Bear obsession. Nice job. Of course, since the low point of this obsession occurred in your room, you did have an unfair advantage. :)

Kathleen said...
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Kathleen said...

My 5-year-old niece loves the Care Bears, and at Christmas, I had the opportunity to watch parts of the "Big Wish Movie." From what I caught, and verified at the Wikipedia entry for the movie, the Care Bears learn that they can't just wish problems away and that they have to work together to fix them. Just thought I'd let you know that they haven't gone bad! :)

amypfan said...

Thank goodness! Kathleen, You have restored my faith in the Care Bears. Now if only I could get one of those cool Cloudmobiles.... :)