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How a Special Doll Affected Our Family

Duane Herrmann | Jul 29, 2022

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

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Duane Herrmann | Jul 29, 2022

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

As a young father, I searched for the perfect baby doll for my our oldest child and daughter. Our second child had just been born. I wanted my daughter to have her own new baby, too.

When I took her to the hospital to see her new baby brother for the first time, I didn’t want her to feel left out, or demoted, by the addition of a new baby in the family. I figured, if she got a new baby, just like Momma and Daddy had a new baby, she would not mind the other baby.

I was also aware of Abdu’l-Baha’s written instructions to: 

Let them (the lovers of God) see no one as their enemy, or as wishing them ill, but think of all humankind as their friends … the stranger as a companion, staying free of prejudice, drawing no lines. 

RELATED: So How Do I Teach My Kids about Spirituality?

I wondered: How could I implement this in my family?

In the doll section of the store I hesitated. There was only one baby doll that I wanted. If I chose it for my daughter, some other girl would not have it to identify with. This was hard! Some other little girl may really need this doll to identify with. 

On the other hand, if no one bought this baby doll, it might just sit on the shelf for a long, long time and the store could conclude that no one wanted a doll like that. If I bought it, my purchase would demonstrate there was a need. The store should really have had more than one, because there were many more than just one little girl who needed that doll. On the thought that my purchase would demonstrate need, I bought the doll.

Unknown to my daughter, I took the doll, hidden, with us to the hospital. My daughter, age three, was duly impressed that Momma had a new baby. It was interesting, although there wasn’t much she could do but look at it. She held it, with my assistance, but it couldn’t talk to her, or do more than look at her. She couldn’t poke it. What fun was it?

Then I told her that I had something for her. I asked her to sit still, close her eyes and hold out her arms. When she did, I put the new doll in her arms. Her eyes popped open instantly and there, there in her arms was another baby. I told her it was her new baby. Her mother and I had a new baby and she should have a new baby, too. This was her new baby.

My daughter was entranced: a new baby for her? She couldn’t believe her good fortune!! And her new baby was definitely special, not boring like the other new baby. The other baby was the same color we were, but her new baby was a different color; a special color. Her baby was a rich brown. My daughter fell in love with her new brown baby.

She carefully carried her new baby out of the hospital because, of course, it was her baby! She was very careful with this new baby. She wouldn’t let anything hurt it. She was determined to be a good Momma for her new baby, and she was!

My daughter learned to take care of her new baby as well as her mother and I took care of our new baby. Her baby was easier to take care of, though. Her baby never had a messy diaper for her to change, and her new baby never cried.

As her brother grew up, he also liked his sister’s baby doll. It was special. Two more children came into the family and, as they grew up, it became their favorite doll also. They all learned to take care of the baby. They knew some day, when they grew up, they could have their own babies, and they wanted to be good parents. They looked forward to their own real babies.

When the children married, they all married someone like the baby doll, someone whose skin color was different from their own.

RELATED: Interracial Marriage: A Love at First Sight Story

My long-term goal was successful. I had wanted to bring some color to my White family, and my grandchildren now are various colors of the rainbow! Mission accomplished. I hope this doll gave our family some small measure toward bringing peace and unity to the world. As Abdu’l-Baha concluded, in a talk he gave at Hull House in Chicago in 1912:

… Baha’u’llah hath said that the various races of humankind lend a composite harmony and beauty of color to the whole. Let all associate, therefore, in this great human garden even as flowers grow and blend together side by side without discord or disagreement between them.

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  • William Burden
    Jul 29, 2022
    Well done! In this woke world of unintended, negative consequences, it is nice to read a story where intended consequences had a positive result.
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