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Awhile back, as I admired my children playing, I watched Barbie dress in beautiful clothes, go to lots of fancy places with Ken and fall in love. Ken proposed, and they had a lovely wedding. That was OK. But to my surprise, after they were married, they got in fights and divorced so they could date again!

That's when I realized that the toys I had selected for my children encouraged materialistic values. There was nothing in this all-time favorite Barbie collection that encouraged playing house, like I did when I was a little girl. What my daughters needed instead were baby dolls, dishes, a stroller, high chair, diapers - the things a mother needs to raise a family.Play, in both humans and animals, should promote important social bonds, teach fathers to provide for and protect their families and mothers to nurture and take care of their offspring.

Basic values are formed while children are young. We as parents need to get back to basics. Bloodthirsty video games, realistic-looking guns, violent, ill-mannered and materialistic cartoons, sex-oriented movies and TV programs are all destroying our children's values and contributing toward the current worldwide trend of selfishness, materialism and crime.

We as individuals may not be able to change the whole world, but we can certainly affect our own children and their values. One way is to select toys that influence our sons to work hard and support a family, to repair and build around the house - with tools, etc., and our daughters to nurture their children and to make their home a heaven on earth.

Carole S. Jewkes

Pleasant Grove