Password: Hope

Following the wise advice of Dad Extraordinaire, Jim Silver (link to his page here), this year for the holidays we had the kids make up a list for Santa of all the things they wanted. As you might suspect, it was a bit long, and so we let them know that they wouldn’t get everything on it…but that Santa and his elves (Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents) would help out too. This single act taught them the value of prioritization, which was manifested by their underlining, highlighting and even offering helpful reminders via sticky notes placed in my purse of the one (two and three) thing that they simply could not live without. For my 7-year old daughter, that was the Password Journal from Mattel (link here).

This product originally came out more than a decade ago during my first year in the toy industry (long before I had kids of my own) and was introduced by a company called Radica, who pioneered a technology line of toys designed exclusively for girls, Girl Tech, that involved more than just pink plastic. In fact, their products under this line were anything but pink. The really took into account what was important and even treasured by girls, and then created ahead-of-their-time tech toys that girls loved, but unfortunately at price points that parents didn’t. Then Mattel acquired Radica and has since found ways to expand that techno play experience at lower price points while also refreshing some of the classic products that still resonate with kids today. The Password Journal is one of those items, with new bells and whistles that earned it the top nag spot on Rowe’s list for Santa this year.

Any girl burdened with a little brother can appreciate the heightened security access this Journal offers. Its on-board microphone allows girls to record their own password for security access. The device recognizes the password and whether or not the voice used to record it is the same one of the true owner who is trying to gain entry. And there’s also a warning that blares when intruders try to access the journal (It is now known as the soundtrack of our home). But, wait…there’s more! The journal features a hidden compartment that can only be accessed by using a second voice-activated password.

And what, you may be asking, is the single most important and memorable word that a 2nd grader might use to protect all of her worldly notes and dreams?


She chose the word “hope” as her password, and when I asked why, she simply said: “Because I like that word. It’s pretty, and every time you say it, it makes me smile.”

So no matter how many times her little brother yelled, “OPEN NOW!”, and, “This journal is so stupid!” into the microphone, it never opened.

Because, as it turns out, hope really is the key.

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