Happy Birthday Barbara Millicent Roberts!

By Steven J. Callis

Happy Birthday, Barbara Millicent Roberts!  At the age of 55, she continues to stand tall in her part of the world, leading quite a life.

She has owned more than 40 pets, including a Panda, a lion cub, dogs, cats, horses, and a zebra.  She served as a flight attendant and holds a pilot’s license.  Among her many careers, Barbara has been an astronaut, a doctor, and a NASCAR driver, an Olympic gymnast, a news anchor, and a teacher of sign language, Spanish, dance, art, and elementary education.

Unlike most of her kind in those early days, Barbie came on the scene as an adult.  Her producer, Ruth Handler, had watched her daughter play with paper dolls, and often giving them adult roles to play.  Mattel was not favorable of the adult doll idea at first, but Ruth returned a year later from a trip to Germany where she purchased 3 “Lilli” dolls.

She gave one of the dolls to her daughter, Barbara, and the other two to Mattel.  Ruth then redesigned her original idea based on “Lilli” and Barbie made her debut at the American International Toy Fair on March 9, 1959.  Mattel bought the rights to Lilli, and many careers, outfits, accessories, and friends later, Barbie still enjoys a high profit following.

She originally sold for around 3 dollars, and nearly 350,000 were purchased in her first year.  So, how much is she worth today?  A mint boxed Barbie from 1959 sold for $3552.50 on eBay in October 2004!  Today’s average Barbie collector is a female in her 40’s who spends nearly $1000 annually purchasing Barbie products.

You may be thinking by now, “This guy knows way too much about dolls!”  Well, I am not a Barbie enthusiast, and the above information is not the result of my personal knowledge of her history.  I do find it remarkable, however, that she has managed to overcome more than 20 law suits and controversies during her lifetime, yet continues to thrive as a profitable, marketable product.

Of course, it is the genius of Mattel that actually managed to fight through the many legal and public relations battles over the years on her behalf.  But consider how many thousands of products have been laid to rest over much less of a fuss.  Apparently, there is something about Barbie’s “character” that continues to win public appeal.

Is there something of your character that holds sway among your peers?  Is there something of the genuine “you” that is able to rise above conflict, ridicule, criticism, and oppression?  In the Bible, the man Job discovered the key to such character amid his trials and tests.  He declared,

“When he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.  My feet have closely followed His steps; I have kept to His way without turning aside…I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily bread.”

In the book of Proverbs we read this exhortation: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

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