Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Childhood (09/03/09)
TITLE: Missing Out
By Martha Jean Holubec
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“No. I led a very sheltered life.”
If you’ve ever been part of a conversation that went like that, you know what I’m talking about. I grew up in a home where I was an only child with strict parents–sometimes too strict, I felt. As a child, I often felt like I was missing out on something, but as the years went by, I was very glad that my parents kept me from becoming involved in some of the things that went on around me.
Many of the things that go on today cheat our children out of their childhood. Years ago children could play in the dark outdoors or run across the field to a friend’s house in safety. Today it’s not always safe to be alone, especially outdoors at night. As a child, I lived on the same piece of land as my grandmother and would run across the big yard to her house in the dark unafraid. My only thought was seeing Grammy when I got there. Today we are concerned with what could happen once our child leaves our house.
Childhood used to be a time of innocence, exploring, learning, fun, and love. The negatives in our society have changed all that. Instead of being innocent and just enjoying life, our children must be educated about bad things so they can be aware and alert of what is going on around them and protect themselves. Instead of exploring and finding treasures, they stumble upon evil things that frighten and hurt them. Learning has turned into things they need to be aware of rather than things that can help them in the future. Fun can still be had, but precautions need to be taken because fun can turn into disaster so quickly and easily. Love used to be something wonderful and to be shared with someone special, but it has been devalued and mis-used.
Something between a sheltered life and a street-wise life is what is needed today. Keeping a child from knowing what goes on “out there” doesn’t keep them from walking straight into trouble, nor does a street-wise life keep them safe and innocent. The media shows starving children in other countries, but I think of the many children right here in America who are starving emotionally because they don’t receive the love of a family, or because their childhood was stolen from them and they live in fear of what will happen if they don’t do as they’re told.
The sex trafficking of both children and adults is horrific and is cheating our children of their childhood. The abused children live in fear of those who are supposed to be loving them. The neglected children are left to fend for themselves which causes them to grow up quickly but not always maturing in the right way. Poverty steals the very life of childhood as food, medical care, protection, love, and the basic necessities of life are not available for them.
If I were growing up in today’s world instead of 50 years ago, I would still be thankful for strict parents because it would help me be safe and secure in their love. So what if I “never heard of that?”! Would it have helped me to have “heard of it”? Probably not.
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