If you, or anyone you know–child or adult–doesn’t have a teddy bear yet, it’s time to get them one right now. The positive effect will be immediate and lasting, and will spread without you even trying.
The bond between a teddy and its owner does not discriminate among generations, gender, culture, and social status. A little girl and a full-grown woman will hug a teddy bear the same way – with unbreakable clinginess. And somewhere in this universe, an adult male may or may not admit that he at least owns a teddy bear.
Hospitality company Travelodge found some of those men in a survey they made among British adults. About 25% of British businessmen admitted they bring their trusty teddy bears along on business trips (do we hear the ladies going “awwwww”?).
Nene, the brown polar bear, comforted my best friend during her lowest days. Bading, the yellow one, was my best friend’s gift to me when I turned 25. Bluetooth, my latest, has a twin that I named Red who is now making a less fortunate child happy this Christmas season.
So what is it with teddy bears that make us pine for emotional bond? The reason could only be psychological. A teddy bear represents our childhood, a trusted friend, a loved one – perhaps because it never resists a hug, and is always ready to listen without passing judgment.
Studies suggest that a teddy bear stimulates the feeling of comfort and security, which we all seek from childhood to adulthood. In a study published by the Singapore Management University entitled “Touching a Teddy Bear Mitigates Negative Effects of Social Exclusion to Increase Prosocial Behavior,” teddy bears have actually helped reduce stress and ease the feeling of social exclusion among subjects just by touching the toys.
Yes, little boy, let no one dare take that blue teddy away from you.
This may be the reason why social workers usually give teddy bears to victims of trauma and abuse. Teddy bears also make great gifts to the less privileged. I happened to see one event where SM gave a Christmas show and stuffed bears called Bears of Joy to children of a depressed barangay in Bacoor, Cavite. I just found myself smiling just looking at the faces of those kids. One mom, Vilma Padre, said that it may be just toy bears – but they are the bears that gave her children a Christmas to remember.
What makes this bear-sharing idea special is that the shoppers are part of it. For every bear we buy (I bought a pair, hah!), another pair is given to a child beneficiary in behalf of the shopper. In essence, it comes with a thought: that everytime I hug my Bear of Joy, it gives me that warm fuzzy feeling that I’m also making an underprivileged child experience the same happiness.
So, yes, everyone does need to have his own teddy bear to hug and love and talk to when no one seems to be around to pay attention. Take the cue from Mr. Bean and his brown teddy, Christopher Robins and Winnie the Pooh, or even robo-moppet David and his robo-plushie in Artificial Intelligence. Whoever you are, whatever you do, you deserve to have a teddy bear for the sheer comfort it gives. And if you share a bear, you’re a hero.