By: Heather Hale
This past weekend for me was focused on working with and around children. The idea for this blog came from a combination of those events the past two days and from constantly being in the journalistic mode lately. I was looking up lesson plans for a volunteer reading program for kids that I am doing and found some plans that introduce kids to news as well as improve their reading skills. As I was looking through some of the news sites that are geared towards the younger generations I remembered the “magic curtain” that I had once too had around me that kept all of the negativity in the world away. The news that I was finding was about exotic animals, how to deal with bullies, and mini bios on the Presidents, but it was rare that I found a story about the war in Iraq or the homicide that occurred downtown last night.
While there are exceptions, most children do not have to carry the worries of the world on their conscious, it is only when they start becoming exposed to some of the atrocities that happen in this world do they start to feel the burden, many times feelings of helplessness. It could be that the development of an adolescent’s brain is not mature enough to understand the extent of how far reaching events are, and just react accordingly to how the adults around them are reacting. As humbling as it is now to admit, I did not at all realize how terrible September 11, 2001 was until I was taken out of school early by my mother and saw her reaction to everything. I had that curtain around me and unless the news was happening within a mile radius of me, I really had no reason to worry about it. Some may call that ignorance, but at thirteen years old it was a headache enough to decide what to wear to school on any given day. I was exposed to the news every night after dinner with my family when we watched the events of the day with Tom Brokaw so it wasn’t exactly an issue of being sheltered, but possibly an issue of fantasy. Fantasy that the bad things happening were so far away from me that they would never directly affect my life, fantasy that the world is not all connected, fantasy that has now become so far removed from my current life. Parents act as a shield absorbing all of their childrens’ worries and fears.
Let me conclude with a quote from my last event of this weekend volunteering at the “kidzone” at the Homecoming football game, which was in essence a giant bouncy house with a slide. While bouncing in the house a young girl said to her friend “lets just stay in here forever”, and if only they could just stay in there forever and never have to live without the protection of that magic curtain.