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The Little Electric Oven

One Christmas, at least I think it was Christmas and not a birthday, my parents bought sister a little oven. Now, this was in the days before lawyers had become fruitful, multiplied and replenished the earth. This wasn’t a piece of plastic with stickers to put on the oven to emulate fire. Nor did it come with a few round cans made of plastic labeled as corn or beans. No, this was a little Easy Bake oven which had a real plug which went into a real socket and operated off real electricity.

Kenner Easy Bake OvenYou could heat it up. Instead of coming with a booklet which contained warnings and disclaimers, it came with a recipe book and some instructions on how to operate it.

I remember my sister’s delight at getting that oven. She wanted to do what any girl would have wanted at that point: she wanted to use it. I remember that shortly after getting the oven, she made a recipe for cookie dough. She put the cookie dough in her little oven, turned it on and waited. After a few minutes, she pulled out the metal cookie sheet with delicious cookies — hot and steaming. She even shared one with me.

(Sigh) I think we call those the “good old days” now. Those were the days when people bought toys that had some kind of educational value or purpose to them. I remember Erector Sets which included not only the metal scaffolding like pieces but also a little electric motor for operating a functional crane. I remember Tinker Toy sets. Every kid that had one of those was a master of building edifices which could reach to the heavens — or at least the ceiling.

I spent time mixing chemicals from my chemistry set — not always according to the instructions. That set included a bunsen burner, by the way, not just a plastic glob with a sticker that pretends to be fire. It used alcohol to power it. It had test tubes, stoppers and test tube clamps for holding the mixtures over the fire for heating or, in some cases, overheating the chemicals.

It pains me to see the state of toys in this country. The lawyers and marketers have won. The kids and their minds have lost. Now they get really cool things like Playstations where they can sit for endless hours staring at a large screen TV shooting at aliens while scenes change every split second. They can even get labeled ADD because they can’t seem to focus on anything for longer than a split second.

Maybe the point behind giving gifts is not to entertain. Maybe it includes the chance to grow in mind, body or spirit. After all, that’s what God intended in His gift to us. When He gave His son, God wanted us to be changed.

The next time you go to purchase a gift, remember the little electric oven, and look for a gift that will challenge your child, not placate her.

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One Response to "The Little Electric Oven"

  1. Dwayne Pugh says:

    And the added and (at the time) unexpected benefit of the Easy Bake Oven? If you kept the toy and box in pristine condition, you can sell it on ebay to some other mid-lifer for who knows how much money!!! A lesson in capitalism from a gift that keeps on giving…

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