SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2009
What do we do when the answers we were given as children are no longer good enough? Simple tales of good and evil line the fabric of our childrens minds played out in propagandized fables of heroes and witches and beautiful heroines strewn in the castle tower high atop an array of dastardly villains and henchman all told in the king’s high english and circulated by a Disney artist. When the dream of a black and white reality crumbles into gray, when the witching hour takes us between night and day… what do we tell our children who can see that the world is not so small, not so simple, not so safe? I wish there was an easy answer for how to protect them. The relevant truths state that if we push them to hard, they will inevitably prove Newton’s theory and show us an equal and opposite reaction… one which usually leaves a family broken and a child branded a rebel. On the other hand, if we let them alone… we risk allowing them to slip into the dulldrums of teenage bliss… where highschool quickly fades into the best days of the life of a graduated nobody. I for one am not content to do either. I believe firmly in the concept of knowing what is ahead and being prepared for every possible situation… especially the ones which feel inevitable. In this case… i feel that there is a looming darkness to the inevitable… the loss of innocence. Santa Claus is dead, and in his place is an imposter… one who has broken into your house to perpetrate a lie… and he is not alone… he is one of a syndicate, an insidious army of men in red who one night every year dupe the worlds children into opening their doors and their hearts to an overweight old man who promises them toys. This loss of innocence is the cynicism that goes with the revelation… the anger in the stage of grief. When there is trauma… can we really expect to keep the bomb from becoming? Adolescence is a tricky thing. It is a time where parenting becomes defined by its ability to interact, while all the while it has been preventative. I cannot keep a child from experiencing the things which i couldn’t prevent, though i can prevent the child from experiencing what i keep from them. But in doing so… in sheltering the birth of a new era in development… what do i sacrifice on the child’s behalf? If my child never sees the history from the legend, and the myth from the fantasy… then a different kind of innocence will be lost… the converse loss of a right to pure and innocent adult hood. We cannot take either from them. It seems that what is most important, is not so much knowing what to do… but knowing whether i should do it. I stand before my progeny in tension with the utmost respect for who they could become, and how they need to become it.