Saturday, May 17, 2008

Let the Children Be

Before becoming a mom I was a high school English teacher for 6 years. I could have told you then that our world is a scary place and it is only getting to be more dangerous by the minute. Students I had, while as a whole were great, were much more bold in how they talked to or about teachers. They were very frank and open about sexual activity, drug and alcohol use and abuse, and cursing was a part of their everyday vernacular.

Flash forward to 2008 where I have an almost 3 year old daughter and almost one year old son. I am scared to death when I think about what the future holds for them in terms of our society. Kids as young as 10, yes 10, are engaging in sexual activity. By high school graduation more than 70 percent of teens are sexually active. The incidence of STDs is astounding. Pediatricians can hardly keep up. Where did our children's childhood go?

I might be old fashioned or a prude but I want to keep my children children for as long as possible. I don't want them exposed to sex, be it overtly or covertly. I don't want them exposed to the ugliness of our world. My husband and I, and our extended family, do our best to insulate our children from what we perceive to be the dangers and toxins of our current world. However, when my little babies go off to school they will be bombarded with things that I have worked very hard to keep them from. There will be magazines that standardize beauty and put undue pressure on young girls to achieve and maintain an unrealistic body image. Is it any wonder that eating disorders are at an all time high for young girls in this country?

It is scary to think about. I just want to keep my children young and innocent, and ignorant of all the sexualization of everything. I don't want them to have to worry about rape or murder or even the lesser but still emotionally damaging issues. When I look at how my children view the world it makes me sad that these days are numbered. Right now they look at the world and see all the beauty and positives. It's an amazing thing to see the world through a child's eyes. Everyone should be so lucky. But it is also a reminder that pretty soon they will see the world through the eyes of all those they come into contact with. I can just hope and pray I've exposed them to enough of the good things that it helps balance out the bad things.

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