Thu, 14 Sep 2000 19:27:42 EDT
In a message dated 9/14/00 4:23:18 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
> Hash: SHA1
> Here I have to ask, what do you consider the "right" way to approach
> our children? You talk of stealing their innocence, a phrase I hear
> quite often, but what is this innocence? As far as I can tell, this
> idea of a sanitized innocent childhood, is a fantasy based on a
> period of time starting with the child labor laws set early in the
> 20th century, and ending with the '60s. Now, we are looking at a
> little less than 50 years of human history, and saying that out of
> the entire span of human existence, that period should determine how
> we treat our children?
> Perhaps you do not remember childhood as well as I do, or perhaps
> your childhood was far happier than mine, but my entire life I have
> been struck with how outright cruel children are to each other! I see
> very little of the pure innocence you attribute to children. Growing
> up, it was not the media, nor advertising, nor the world of adults
> that caused me to become the cynical, slightly asocial man I am now,
> but rather the derision and cruelty of the other children around me.
> I do not mean to step on anyone's toes, and I realize that everyone
> wants to believe that their child is a perfect little angel, but
> think back people! If you weren't picked on as a child, then you
> probably amused yourself by picking on those beneath you in the child
> social order.
> Throughout human history children have often been considered the most
> resilient and adaptable examples of our species. For the bulk of
> human history, it has been believed that the more hardship a child
> endures, the greater their strength of character will be when they
> reach adulthood. Now, whether you agree with this or not, that has
> been the case for most of the time humans have existed, and we made
> it here. Yet now we cry that our children are "growing up too fast!"
> Only a few hundred years ago a boy of 15 was middle-aged, yet now we
> worry about the idea of a 15 year-old boy seeing a picture of a nude
> 18 year-old girl? 100 years ago children watched people die next to
> them from black lung disease while working in a mine, yet we are
> worried that it will irreparably harm children to see a person on TV
> smoke a cigarette? Today, in the third world, gangs of 8-15 year-olds
> rob and sometimes murder people, yet we are worried that playing a
> first person shooter will unalterably warp our children?
> I say that we give children a little more credit. They are just small
> people. They don't need the world to be sanitized for them, they need
> to be shown how to deal with the dirty world in which we live. I am
> not saying that our current media does this, nor am I saying that it
> is our media's responsibility to do this. What I am saying, is that
> shielding our children does not get rid of the fact that these
> factors do exist in our society, and they will have to deal with them
> sooner or later.
> As unfortunate as it is, I have seen people cussing up a storm in a
> Fortune 500 corporate board room, so why try to shield our children
> from language that so permeates our society? Before I was 18 I had
> seen 2 people shot right in front of me, and had seen more dead
> bodies than I care to count, so why try to shield our children from
> violence when they will see it out on the streets? When I was in
> elementary in LA, I had people try to sell me drugs, so why pretend
> that no one uses them when they are going to have to face the choice
> themselves, and their peers will be the ones using the drugs? In all
> of these cases I was able to come through without embarrassing myself
> by lecturing a VP about his use of language, without becoming a drug
> addict, and without getting myself shot. Why? Because I was educated
> in the way the world really works, rather than some sanitized fairy
> tale cleaned up for my consumption.
> By building a perfect fantasy world for your children, all you do is
> make it hard for them to know how to deal with real world situations.
> It is just like any other aspect of life, the more you know about it,
> the better you are able to deal with it, and ultimately that is what
> we all want isn't it, for our children to be as successful as they
> can possibly be at their chosen field of interest, without becoming a
> drug addict and without getting shot?
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