TITLE: Innocence Lost or Stolen?
By David Stewart
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Innocence Lost or Innocence Stolen?
When you’re a child the world is beautiful! You laugh. You sing. You skip as you go! When you’re a child there are bears, bunnies and sailboats in the clouds. The world is an adventure, life is great, you sing because you’re happy and just have let it out. Oh the life of a child. Innocence is a beautiful thing. I believe as the Sun gives us energy so does an innocent child. It is a life force like no other. You’re standing in line at a store, tired from a long day at work and a mother holding a newborn walks by and you feel life enter your body as she passes by. A 6 year old skips by singing as she goes and again you feel life enter your being. A 2 year old boy walks up to you and for no reason smiles, whether you want it or not you are a bit more alive. I don’t know why or how but innocence is a force.
As a natural consequence in our world innocence is lost. Friends do use you. Moms & Dads do lie and abuse you. Puppies get run over in the street. Grandpas and grandmas go to heaven. Strangers rape and kill. Boyfriends can abuse you. Moms don’t always stay. Diseases take your friends. Tornados can take your home and all of your toys. Summers are for work just like the rest of the year. Nature can be cruel and people even crueler. Withdraw innocence and people begin to perish. Cynicism sets in and the world starts dying.
If not for innocence the world might perish but just when your world seems as if it will a child will come close and you will remember why you struggle. You struggle to make the world better for them. You work to try and make the world as good as they see it through innocent eyes. Isn’t that the goal? We may not say it out loud but don’t we try to make the world as we knew it to be when we were innocent and somehow still believe it can be? Isn’t that where paradise exists- in the mind of a child?
I was born in the late nineteen fifties. To me it seemed a more innocent time. At grade school we said grace at lunchtime, had a dress code that was strictly enforced and received a spanking if we misbehaved. You were required to speak clearly and in complete sentences. They didn’t have the behavioral problems in school back then that we do now. Honesty, integrity and manners were taught and expected, at home and at school. TV and movies had standards that were meant to protect the innocence of children. Most men reserved cursing and course humor for the company of other men. The lingerie section of the Sears catalog was as close to a nude woman as most boys could get. Adult storylines on TV were reserved for after the kids were in bed. As TV shows attempted to be more risqué there was a strict enforcement of only showing them after 9pm. They did this to protect the innocence of children. It was a good thing.
Along came Kinsey and along came Dr. Spock. Kinsey surveyed pedophiles, child rapists, and reported their habits as normal. He said the more sex the better, the earlier the better. Dr. Spock said don’t spank your kids, hug them. Don’t tell them no, let them do as they please. Don’t ask anything of your kids in case they fail and their self-esteem is ruined. So they never learned to do anything and now they have no self esteem. The world began to fall apart as a result. The floodgates opened. Thief’s intent on robbing children of their innocence came along and insisted they would be better off to know some things sooner, to see some things sooner, to not be protected. They said “they are going to have to learn the truth someday. Better off now than later.” And innocence was stolen.
Seven and eight year olds are having sex. Kids are killing kids. Instead of one room in a school for kids with behavioral problems we have whole wings that are reserved just for them. They can see all manner of evil and perversion anytime day or night on their TV screens. Images on TV and in the movies they watch are images that should never enter the mind of a child. They used to be protected from that. Why not now? Why doesn’t society feel the need to protect the minds of our children any longer? The answer we are given is they can change the channel. How wrong can they be! We are adults and they are children. We have been appointed to protect them. They are unable to make those decisions so we are supposed to be older and wiser and make BETTER decisions FOR THEM. THAT is why we had standards 30 years ago. It was not to halt free speech but to protect our citizens. You cannot yell fire in a crowded theater and you should not be able to place images in front of a child that will damage him or rob him of his innocence. Hillary Clinton wrote a book “It Takes a Village” Now I’m no great fan of the former first lady but there is some truth to that. It is not just up to parents to protect children. It is the responsibility of society. The streets were safer when people kept an eye on any kid that happened by their house. If you tried to smoke on the next street Mr. Smith would call your folks. If you got in a fight behind the bowling alley Officer Thomas knew where you lived and took you home. Today most people don’t know the people living in the house next door and could care less what their kids are up to.
This is not hard to figure out. Look at our country today. Our schools are among the worst in the world and we spend much more money per student than other nations. We have kids that by the time they are 15 have seen so much hardcore pornography that they are nearly uncontrollable and have a very warped idea of sex. The same kids have seen so much violence on TV that they are nearly completely desensitized to it and don’t comprehend the reality behind the violence. We have to live with them and we deserve it for stealing their innocence.
Does it make sense to rob a child of their innocence even one second earlier than is absolutely necessary? I don’t think so. I say God forbid! God have mercy on the one that does cause a little one to lose his innocence. But maybe God won’t have mercy on that one. According to Matthew 18:6 "But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. (NKJ)
My six year old daughter Hannah is just waking up. She still believes in Santa Claus. She holds my hand nearly every day as we walk to the bus stop. She holds my hand sometimes just because she wants to. Hannah has 2 older brothers and an older sister. They don’t believe in Santa because when they were very small I told them he doesn’t exist. I thought it was more honest. I heard a radio preacher say my kids needed to know I would never lie to them and shouldn’t deceive them be telling them Santa brings them presents. I believed him. They don’t live in a world of wonder and Hannah still does. I miss the world of wonder so I want Hannah to hang on to it for as long as possible. I don’t regret letting Hannah believe in Santa. If I could give my grown kids back that world I would. They’ve seen too much, they know too much. It’s too late for them to regain that innocence.
Is it too late to make changes to protect our children? Not as long as there are children. They keep coming. We can keep trying to make things better for them. Exposing them to the world early is not the answer as some as tried to make us believe. They have had their chance with our kids. The results speak for themselves and now it’s time we say enough and put a stop to it and take back the airwaves from these monsters that have robbed our children. It’s time we stop being the monsters that rob our children of their innocence. Let’s get the trash off the TV, let’s set some standards. Let’s get some discipline back in the homes and schools. Let’s show our kids that faith in God is not a bad thing but the thing that made America strong. Yes tolerance in other faiths is a part of that and always has been but that doesn’t mean burying the Christian faith as a result. We have had elite so called intellectuals telling us for years, “God is dead, don’t tell your kids no, it will hurt their self image. Make grades easy to get and don’t fail anyone it’s bad for their self image.” Then our children get out in society and have no social skills because they always got their way when they were kids. They can’t function well as adults and then they really have a bad self image.
What do I suggest? If I haven’t made myself clear, learn to appreciate the innocence of children for the invaluable thing that it is. First of all YOU protect your child’s innocence by doing your job as a parent and guard their minds, eyes and ears. You don’t bring garbage into your home to place in front of your kids. If you already have filth in your house get it out before it harms you any more and harms your child. Don’t think your child doesn’t know what you have in your house. You only have to think back to when you were a kid to know that is not true. Teach your child manners and expect it of them. If you don’t have manners get a book on them and learn them with your child. When you have done all you can to protect your child in your home then it’s time to clean up the airwaves. Let’s make it clear to programmers and advertisers that we have had enough of the garbage on TV and we won’t stand for it. The east and west coast may make all of the TV and they are obviously making it for their tastes because the rest of the country does not think like they do and they are not making TV for us. We need to let them know they won’t profit from pushing their trash on us anymore. It is a battle for the innocence of our children. We have compromised for long enough and our nation is paying the price. If we elevate the protection of our children we elevate our nation.
How do we make our nation a better place to live? We make it more hospitable to children. We make it safer for them. We give them boundaries for their behavior so they may learn right from wrong. We expect more from them in school not less. They will live up to it. We show them respect by not exposing them to things not meant for innocent minds both on TV and our streets. We need to make the world a kid friendly place again.
Hannah’s back. She wants me to help her pick her clothes out for school. She’s half asleep and leans her head on my side. She doesn’t realize she recharges my life batteries the way she does. But she doesn’t think about such things. She has butterflies, ponies and unicorns to think about.
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