Now is the Time

Reflecting upon the recent tragedy in Newtown, it's time to make changes for the betterment of our children's futures.

There was a time.

Children could walk to school, walk home during lunch, play freely
outside, and ride their bikes to friends’ houses.  Children could stroll to a nearby mom and pop grocery store to pick up bread and milk, could sled at the local park and bring friends home for the hot chocolate that waited. 
Children could be children a little longer, believe in magic a bit
longer, and dream of sugar plum fairies. Children could enter their school from any outside door, have the commensurate twice a year fire drills, and drink the water from an old fashioned white ceramic water fountain.  Despite asbestos
under their feet, teacher’s lounge smoke wafting through the halls, and clouds
of dust from the blackboards, children were healthy. They knew every adult in the building from janitor to lunch ladies.  They also knew most of the
parents or visiting adults when they arrived for a special event.

There is a time.

Children wait with an adult and then climb aboard a bus where video
cameras are mounted in the front.  They arrive at a school with one mandatory entrance sometimes supervised by security
officers or metal detectors.  They practice various drills: lock downs, catastrophe drills, or ‘color coded’ special drills which dictate the level of precaution which occurs.  From kindergarten onward, they receive courses regarding anti-bullying, anti-drugs, and, in many circumstances, can’t take a different bus home with a friend in the afternoon.  There are water bottles, white boards, special accommodations for food allergies, and counselors galore for crisis intervention of all sorts.  They know some of the adults who work in the building, and fewer of the visiting adults all of whom sport special labels after checking in at a security desk.  Very few believe in anything magical much beyond second grade, and very few can ride their bikes around the block let alone to a friend’s house.  And when, hearing of another tragedy like what just happened in Newtown, they absorb it as they absorb the many other disasters they see on the news.

Then, they return to their first person shooter games, the electronic
devices which assault their visual and auditory senses with digital drivel, and
put on headphones and shut the world out. The world is so fast and so busy that
families rarely eat a meal together, unless it’s delivered, let alone sit
together to talk or play a game. Everything in our world is accelerated, constantly in motion, and no one stops for anything.

No wonder they no longer dream of sugar plum fairies.

It’s time to make sure that a
future time is more like our former time.

We owe it to our children.

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William Mark December 17, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Andrea Lynch December 17, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Agreed - our children have a right to a childhood.
John Q Public December 25, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Consider: the first two generations "raised by television" where all problems are solved within 30 minutes, less time for commercials, are now in charge and running the State. ADHD, meet Homeland Security and his friend, FBI. The "solutions" they offer are no more likely to solve any problem than the sitcom script culture that inspired them. What I am suggesting is that we listen respectfully, and respectfully consider their various scheme at our peril. This is trebley true for those among us whose ADHD minds cannot chemically pause long enough to consider anything deeper than "First answer that asks nothing of me, personally; no sacrifice -- make the other person responsible!" Or, as it was called when people were still human, the "knee jerk" response that comes reflexively, without benefit of thought. In the present environment, knee-jerk, ADHD emotionalism threaten to literally destroy a society built at great cost over centuries, even millenia, because the instant-gratification with zero responsibility segment of the electorate is, frighteningly, now dominant. They will happily vote to emasculate and enslave themselves, so long as they think it will hit the other guy instead. It never occurs to them that, for everyone else, they are the other guy. Lord have mercy.
Rick Kephart December 28, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Yes, kids shutting the world out with electronic gadgets is not the problem; it is the result of the problem. Adults have gotten so scared of the world that they've made life unbearable for youngsters, so it's no wonder kids have to block out the world with their electronic gadgets.
Regina DiLabbio Klugh King December 29, 2012 at 05:07 PM
As a semi-retired mom, now full-time grandmother, I recall that the stories we told our children usually began with "Once upon a time . . ." I must confess, John Q., that I haven't a clue as to what you're driving at. And Rick, today's kids have no less a need to block out the world with their electronic gadgets than those of my generation had the need to block out the daily living with the carnage of WWII, Korea, Vietnam and the ever-present hiding from the bomb drills underneath our desks. I think today's kids need a dose of reality, common sense, and the basic skills involving the human spirit, compassion and respect for one another that seem to be in short supply. We're indulging and gratifying our children's every whim without instilling the basic 101's on humanity and morality.
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