The Power of Barney

Marisa - Blytheville, Arkansas
Entered on January 9, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: children

I believe in the innocence that Barney instills in children. As a child, I was forced to grow up rather quickly. I was faced with family problems that no adult, much less a child, should have to deal with. I filled the void that a lack of family time made by watching Barney. That big, purple dinosaur helped me to drown out the sounds of my arguing parents. Every day after school, my older sister would pop in a Barney tape for me and my little brother to keep us occupied. These tapes allowed me to remain a child for those few precious moments. Then, as always, Barney would end, and reality would hit. When reality hit, it hit hard.

At the age of six, my siblings and I were forced into the foster care system. Being six, I didn’t complain about having to leave school or friends. I cried for my mother and my missing Barney tapes. After a few sessions of me crying over Barney tapes, my social worker bought me a Barney doll. I treated that doll like any normal child treats a pacifier or a blankie. I even took it to school. That Barney doll meant that I had a permanent source of childhood innocence. When I needed someone to talk to, I talked my Barney doll. Every time I moved foster homes, I took my Barney doll with me. When I had to start over at a new school and make new friends, my Barney doll gave me confidence. I loved that doll so much that, in order for each foster mother to wash it, I had to sit in front of the washer to make sure that it did not disappear, like my Barney tapes.

I remained in the foster care system for two years, and my Barney doll helped me through every minute of it. Without that doll, I am not sure I could have held on to the little childhood that I had left. I’m almost eighteen, and I still have that doll. To me, it represents a childhood innocence that could have easily been lost in the shuffle of an adult world. My Barney doll is not only a doll to me, but it is a keepsake that I plan to pass on to my children to teach them the importance of a meaningful childhood. I can still be caught watching Barney episodes early Saturday mornings, but I’m not ashamed of it. Although I’m on the verge of adulthood, I remember what my Barney doll taught me. That old doll taught me that the innocence of childhood is necessary for people to be successful. I will always thank Barney for teaching me that lesson.