Childhood is Special, We Need to Keep it That Way
One of the great things about being a parent is you’re able to see the world through the eyes of your child. We’re all in such a rush to grow up that when we do, we completely forget the feeling of being young. It’s somewhat easy to remember being in your 20s or 30s since these are the years when major life choices happen (marriage, your first car, first house, etc). It’s harder to remember being 7-years-old and what that actually felt like.
The carefree attitude of your day, when the biggest thing you had to worry about was whether you were getting chicken nuggets or fish nuggets at lunch (not sure they serve those anymore, thankfully). Being a kid is the greatest. That’s why it’s odd to me that so many parents and people in power are wanting our kids to grow up quicker than they should.
I listened to gangster rap in high school. You can picture it, suburban white kid in my parents 3,000 square foot house in a nice neighborhood listening to young Black men rapping about their difficult and violence-ridden lives. It didn’t make any sense of course, given the fact my life was nothing like theirs. I liked the beats, the various rappers that would enter in and out of a song and quite honestly, I listened to it because my friends did.
That’s kind of what you do when you’re a kid. You’re more than willing to set aside your individualism to be “one with the herd.” This allows you to not only fit in but avoid scrutiny and judgment. It’s normal and it’s something many grownups take with them as they enter adulthood.
Kids are impressionable. I don’t need a Masters degree or a PHd to know this is true. My 16-year-old stepdaughter has a mind of her own and is quick to separate herself from the herd, no matter the consequence. She’s pretty mature for her age and always has been.
My 7-year-old on the other hand will most likely land somewhere in the middle. Although I don’t see her high school self bullying someone just because her friends are, it’s easy to change who you are to be accepted. This is especially true when you’re young and your entire worldview is defined by the circle of friends you have at school and/or the neighborhood where you live.
Childhood is a great time in our lives. This is especially true during the grammar school years, when the school work load is less, recess is an integral part of your social awareness and your worries in life are at a minimum.
I wake my daughter up each morning with a puppet show. We take one of her various “stuffies” and I let my so-so voice impressionist talent do the talking. She loves it and considers it part of her morning routine. She’s able to wake up in a good mood and get ready for her day, which most likely centers around what she’s having for lunch or whether her friends will all get along.
Keep in mind what I’ve just told you. I wake my daughter up each day by mimicking voices with her stuffed animals. I don’t think she sees these animals as real necessarily, but it’s somewhat of an in-between phase in her life. She’s probably assuming her stuffed animals, cartoons, and action figures aren’t real in the same sense that she is, but if they’re not, what else isn’t? It’s a mysterious time in her life when so many things are in question while also providing her with a sense of wonder on a daily basis.
Why then are we so eager to have our kids grow up so quickly? I’ve talked about this in previous articles, but why would we want to expose children to subjects they couldn’t possibly understand? Sex is certainly one of them and it’s a big one.
You would never be able to convince me that my 7-year-old daughter, the same one who questions whether her “stuffies” have feelings, would know what it means for two adults to have sex. This alone is hard enough for her to fathom.
Add on top of this the idea of gender fluidity and the like, and we’re simply going down avenues that no child would be able to grasp. Again, there’s zero chance you can tell me they would be able to. They can be conditioned to believe one thing or another, but to fully grasp it would be challenging to near impossible for most children.
It’s harder and harder to find a movie to watch as well. They’re either Rated G and simply terrible for a family to watch together or PG-13 with way more cursing, violence and sex or sexual innuendos than you’d want your kids to be exposed to.
We actually loved watching the movie Ready Player One. We’ve seen it more than a few times and all of us agreed it was a great movie. Having said that, the number of times they said “shit” or something similar was tough to take with my then 6-year-old watching it with us. Perhaps this makes us bad parents for not watching Clifford 2 for the umpteenth time as a family. I won’t apologize for not subjecting myself to one more viewing of a big dog bumbling about town laying waste in his wake.
“You’re just getting old.” Perhaps, and this is very true as I constantly have to remind myself how old I am. It’s also true there were curse words and certain inappropriate subjects in the movies of my childhood. More than once I’ve noticed gay slurs in the movies I watched as a kid. Some as late as the mid 2000s in movies like American Pie and those of a similar genre. I don’t condone this either.
I think featuring same sex couples makes a ton of sense in movies, TV shows, and entertainment in general. It’s a facet of our society and one that we should expose children to in a positive way to remove the stigmas that have landed on this population for decades up to this point.
What’s positive? A loving same sex couple raising their children in a happy home would be more positive than a picture of that same couple having sex in a children’s book. Somehow the two get mixed together as the same thing or same level of appropriateness.
My point in all this is to simply use common sense when it comes to our children. When it comes to my kids, and my biological daughter in particular, she’s my reason for doing just about anything. There is no more important responsibility that I have in this world than to keep her safe, make her happy and provide her with the best childhood possible. This will hopefully lead to her being a responsible adult who will leave a positive mark on society.
Common sense isn’t common. No doubt you’ve all heard this saying before. This can be light-hearted when speaking about using a turn signal or grilling a burger on the grill but when it comes to kids, it’s tragic.
Like most things right now, kids are being weaponized for political reasons on both sides of the aisle. Enough. We need to remember that we’re dealing with the future of our great country and the leaders of tomorrow. More importantly, kids represent the best of us. They’re what we once were prior to being jaded, self centered and disillusioned.
A utopian society is defined as an “ideal society that doesn’t exist in reality.” It may as well be defined as “an ideal society in which children exist.” Don’t take that away from them, not just yet. They’re too busy anyway, Barbie just called and apparently her dream house needs redecorating.
It’s always something.
This article was originally published on Reverian.