On our recent trip to Texas, we squeezed in a visit to the American Girl store, a first for all four Edwards girls. The American Girl brand has successfully captured the hearts of my daughters and, for the most part, I've not discouraged it. They eagerly expect the next catalog, pore over the pages, make out wish lists and add up prices. When they turned eight, we gave them a doll for their birthday, only insisting that they choose one of the historical dolls.
Sydney loves Molly, a girl from middle America in 1944, and Hope loves Josefina, a girl from 1820s Santa Fe.
Unfortunately, Hope's Josefina doll has always had trouble with hair falling out. It was a tremendous blessing that the American Girl company agreed to cover the cost of Josefina's trip to the "Doll Hospital" for a new--gulp--head. This usually costs $39, but since her doll was clearly defective and not the victim of abuse, the company waived the fee.
The girls told me this morning that their friend reports that there is a picture on the American Girl website of a girl with no less than fifteen American Girl dolls. (How many Compassion children could we sponsor for a year with the money spent on fifteen dolls?) This little anecdote gets to the heart of my inner conflict about the American Girl brand. The sweet historical dolls can help bring history to life, but the entire brand sows seeds of American materialism, helping young American girls along on their way to becoming American women who order their lives around shopping.
Yes, Sydney, if God calls you to work at American Girl, then go for it. But please seek Him in all things, especially your career choice. The joy of your life will not come to you by following your inner star*, but by following Jesus Christ wherever He takes you.
*The American Girl slogan is "Follow Your Inner Star," which seems sweet and uplifting until you stop to realize that sin is really all about deciding for yourself what is right rather than trusting that what God says is right and submitting to Him. Teaching girls to submit to God just isn't the sort of thing that sells, naturally!