“1 want to go outside and play, but I feel that I can’t do that now”
Sounds grim, doesn’t it, especially as such words came from the words of a 12 yr old child. Was the child in some war torn country? Was she living in severe deprivation where no-one could step outside? Or and was she in the midst of some great epidemic where everybody around her was beginning to die.
No, she was a 12 yr old child living in a Cambridgeshire English village, and she had found out that two of her 10 yr old schoolmates had just been murdered, and, in her mind, any further chance of childhood had just been swept to one side.
That was in 2002, and since that time increasingly cautious parenting has led to children often being insulated and protected from the outside world. This is understandable, and it is hard to decry such a policy when the parents look at the world around them, but now, in 2013 we have headlines stating that children should be encouraged to go outside for half an hour, just half an hour mind you, and “go wild” so as to enjoy some fresh air and see nature as it blossoms around them.
What is a child supposed to do though, and can he or she really behave in the way they want to. As adults and parents we say they can, and we encourage them to do so, but what kind of messages does the child hear.
1/Go onto the computer and the internet, we tell them, a wonderful tool and a source of incredile information; but be careful of social networking, be careful of who you chat to, and be careful as regards how you chose your friends.
2/Go outside, play, and explore nature, we implore them, but be careful of what “nature” lies around you, and always be on your guards.
3/Be yourself, enjoy your childhood, we urge them, but watch out for drug and alcohol pushers, don’t talk to or accept gifts from strangers; and, as regards intimate relationships, behave as a responsible adult, even though you are still a child.
I am now in my fifties, and I, along with many of my age was lucky. Granted I didn’t have a computer until I encountered the then “super cool” Sinclair ZX Spectrum , and I was lucky enough to spend much of my time on the then truly rural Buckinghamshire, but I could still be a child.
Now it seems that most children and not so lucky, for recent research indicates that most children in Britain feel that their childhood ends at the age of 12
God bless and praise the child as he or she runs around enjoying life and nature?We have created the environment that they live in, and through our choice of lifestyle and mixed signals, we have set the conditions that the child now sees. Maybe it is time that us adults took a long hard look at ourselves in the mirror, and decided exactly what and who we want our children to be.
Any views anyone, and thoughts or replies?