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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Is There a Witch Hunt on Childhood?

My magical little niece Ember

This post isn’t going to be one of my usual esoteric romps. This one is more of a rant, but if I don’t let it out I just might explode.

I’m really grateful that I got to be a kid back in the 1960’s before society turned into a neurotic knot of fear. Much of my childhood wasn’t easy, but nevertheless I keep finding more and more sentimental old war stories to brag about, like being force-fed cod liver oil, having to walk to school wearing a dress in sub-zero temperatures, or being allowed to bounce freely around inside a moving vehicle without a seatbelt. Station wagons were my favorite because we got to hang out that big back window and make faces at the cars behind us.

We used an Etch A Sketch instead of a laptop, an Eight Ball instead of the Psychic Network, and rabbit ears instead of cable. At recess we used sticks as play guns and stole first kisses without being expelled and labeled as potential terrorists or sex offenders.

My dog, Chips, a Shepherd mix, followed me everywhere I went back then. When we played touch football my buddies would always toss me the ball knowing that no one would dare come near me because Chips would nip them in the ass. I shared every Hershey bar I ever ate with that dog and she lived to be 14.

Back then it was rare for a kid to be overweight because we were always outside playing, but today, because of poor nutrition and lack of activity, our children's health is seriously at risk. I’m not saying that our parents had it right, or that I don’t believe in protecting our kids, but our parents knew something that I believe this generation has forgotten, and that is how to keep things simple and use common sense.

I feel rather sorry for today’s children because they have unwittingly become the victims of a witch-hunt on childhood triggered by the exaggerated fears of some of the adults sent to protect them. “Jason,” who bit his Pop-Tart into the shape of a gun and said, “Bang bang!” is not the enemy. Sweet Bella, who stole a kiss from Ben, and then kicked him in the shin, is not the problem. These are not criminals. They are normal kids. Our kids.

The adults creating blanket rules that fail to take into regard the nature of children/childhood are the problem. When we allow fear to take the reins we lose our capacity to think clearly, which in turn affects our ability to use sound judgment—we become part of the problem, forfeiting our sense of community for a updated version of McCarthyism. I mean, what kind of person thinks it is appropriate to report a six-year-old to the law for stealing a kiss? Someone get a life please!

It is said that what we focus on expands. Well, I believe that today’s kids need something positive to focus on before we turn them into small counterparts of our society—fearful hypersensitive little tattle tales. In short—I think this country really needs to lighten up and smarten up. We’re stressing our children out.
No!
We’re turning them into the enemy.

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25 comments:

The Loerzels said...

Oh my god, I love this post! I concur completely! AND, I was just writing a post of my own about my own Ember. Once again, we're on the same wave length my dear Leah!

Anonymous said...

I grew up even earlier than Leah. I agree with most of what she said. But let's not forget that today's world is not that of the 50's and 60's. Traffic is worse so kids need to wear seatbelts. proven that they save lives. Bullying is killing too many kids and needs to be stopped. [Good luck with that.] Tattleing about a kid with a [real gun is to be encouraged. Kids stealing a kiss is normal and will not lead to sex abuse, but inappropriate touching should be reported. All in all, common sense should be out quide.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE THIS POST as well. HERE HERE. As an elementary school teacher I lament the loss of TAG because kids aren't allowed to TOUCH one another. SERIOUSLY!??? STUPID.

Leah Griffith said...

Marie, I had to let it out. LOL!

Leah Griffith said...

I believe we are tossing the proverbial baby out with the bath water. So sad!

Leah Griffith said...

Yes, the world is not the same. We have to protect our children without going overboard. Thanks so much for your comment!

Leah Griffith said...

I have to hole myself back from sounding too emotional, but in reality I think our society has gone a bit crazy. There. Feeling much better;)

Stephen Hayes said...

I couldn't agree with you more. We're really complicating childhood and screwing up the generations to come.

Leah Griffith said...

It's such a sad thing Stephen. Thanks so much for being here.

Debra said...

Outstanding post, Leah. I read it earlier today and was reflecting back on my own childhood, when life was simpler and more common sense was applied – what in the world ever happened to common sense? You’re so right that society has turned into a neurotic knot of fear, and I believe it’s because we are so morally bankrupt that we’ve abandoned discernment of every kind. Case in point: the Pop-Tart gun. How ridiculous is this??? Amen to all of your points.

Leah Griffith said...

Thank you Debra. I know that they can't teach common sense at the universities, so we are pretty much screwed. Unless of course this cruise-liner of crazy can turn around.

Martha J. M. Orlando said...

I've been pondering this very thing, Leah . . . We're living in a society gone mad with political correctness and lack of common sense. What the h*** happened??? Why is everyone gripped by fear?
I think it's due in large part from a falling away from Christian values and morals. When humans set the standards, they are sub-standard at best; at worst, they are nonsensical and amoral.
Okay, there's my rant to add to yours! Brilliant post, my friend!

Leah Griffith said...

Martha My Dear, (love the Beatles) Christ taught people to love, not to fear, judge, and hate. It's so simple, yet the world continues to spin it's scary stories. Thank you for your thoughtful post sweet lady.

Lori D said...

So right! I think that a good part of the problem is that "It's all about me." How would it reflect on me if I let my child play unsupervised?" "How would my school look if we didn't tow the line on zero tolerance discipline policies?"

Leah Griffith said...

Lori D, I think you may be right. Whose brilliant idea was it to institute zero tolerance policies with six-year-olds, I know adults who can't follow simple rules. Thanks for your comment Lori!

Cheryl said...

I totally agree. We have become a nation of over-reactors. Sure we need to be safe but not at the cost of making everyone (especially children) live in a world of fear. Our world has just gotten crazy on so many levels. I think you summed it up nicely.
. "In short—I think this country really needs to lighten up and smarten up." Amen to that.

Leah Griffith said...

Hey Cheryl, I worry about our kids and the future. It seems as though no one is paying attention to the ridiculousness of it all. Really people!

Larry Batts said...

Great post Leah. Not to mention the over-processed food of today is designed to make kids fat, spastic and immunity deficient. That's the other war on childhood.

Leah Griffith said...

Larry, it seems the list is endless of weapons aimed at our kids. We need simple. Thanks for the visit Larry;)

sunflowergirle said...

I agree so much with this. I am raising to little ones right now. the are Foster but also my grandchildren. You wouldn't believe the rules and regulations I have to follow in order to have them in my home. These are my grandchildren, whom I love dearly and would never hurt in a million years. Yet every injury on the little one has to be reported/and or seen by a doctor to assure the powers that be, that I am not abusing him. Absolutely no physical dicipline is allowed. Tell me how do you convince an active 2 year old boy to take a time out when he is kicking screaming and hitting. A totally normal temper tantrum, ignoring it is fine to a point, but when he doesn't get the attention he is after he gets destructive or violent with his sibs. ARGH. I gave my children a swift efficient swat on the butt and poof, calmed immediately. If I were to do that with him, and DHS found out, he would be removed from our home and I would be convicted of child abuse. Nonsense I tell ya, just nonsense, children want and need boundaries. So anyway I agree.

Dangerous Linda said...

interesting. seems like you have strong feelings about letting kids be kids until one little girl wants to be a princess -- haha! everybody has to draw the line somewhere, i guess ;-)

Suzy said...

Life was so much simpler back then. I remember those good old days. Nice post that took me down memory lane.

Leah Griffith said...

Sunflowergirle, it is so frustrating to try and find new ways to handle old situations. Some of the changes are good, but most of it is nonsense. I commend you for your patience and dedication to your grand babies, and know that they are in loving and capable hands. What a blessing that is! My best to you!

Leah Griffith said...

Ha! Hey Linda, thanks for your visit. As always you put a big fat smile on my face!

Leah Griffith said...

Suzy, I'm glad I was able to escort you down memory lane. I rather like that walk too. Thanks so much for your visit and comment.

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