The Power of Power Beads
Power Beads, although originally created for people to harmonize their inner power, grabbed the attention of some children one day and became an instant hit. I remember, as a fourth grader, seeing the colored beaded bracelets pop up on everyone’s wrists and gain popularity by the day. Suddenly, these bracelets became the “it” topic and every kid had to have them. Whenever we could, we would be comparing colors and deciding we needed more. If your best friend had the cool new silver pewter beads that represented Wisdom, your green beads of Hope were suddenly boring. It wasn’t uncommon to see kids walking around with half their forearm stacked with these smooth beads, and as much as I hate to admit it, I sometimes fell in that category. The strand of meaningful beads was a Hindu invention, and traveled through religions and eventually turned into a pop culture thing more so than a spiritual thing. When it did hit big with young school children, every kid became obsessed with the beads lining their arms.
However, as the ideal beads weren’t the crappy ones you could buy a bundle of for 99 cents, the beads that every kid wanted were the smooth, semi-precious stone bracelets that happened to be expensive. As kids are very forgetful and accidental, most parents aren’t okay with throwing out 5 dollars for one bracelet for their kid, especially when the kid wants the bracelet in every color. This statement goes even more for the children that didn’t have very privileged lifestyles. As we discussed in lecture, it does cost money to involve yourself in culture and your surroundings. The children that weren’t able to afford the trendy beads were the one that were left out in the trading, comparing, and discussing of the beads. Just like we discussed, some kids aren’t capable of interacting with others because integration is hard when there’s no level of equality and something to share and bond over. These beads were a prime example of this separation of classes and how it affects the kids in many ways. It also serves as a small proof that money sometimes does buy you friends.