Doors closing and the TV volume lowering? Something’s going on.
When I was a child, I remember sitting in my bedroom countless times being frustrated that there were situations happening either in my family, community or around the world that I was not allowed to hear. The sad glances exchanged about someone’s suffering, the upset about an attack in some distant country, the qualms about making tricky decisions; they would never be discussed or even explained to me, ever.
As I grew up, sometimes I would be included in these conversations and my opinions would be acknowledged. But even then it was only to a certain extent – you can’t change being the youngest of the family and forever being viewed as a child.
Now that I’m older and have started a life of my own, it’s me who has to make difficult choices or be a shoulder to cry on. Watching pain and anguish is heartbreaking, especially when it’s someone close to you. Even though I’m happy that amongst my friends I am viewed as someone to turn to for advice, help or a hug when things get tough, there are moments where I wish I was that naive little girl again doing nothing more than brushing my Barbie’s hair.
The first major news story I remember was the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Sat on a giant beanbag in our home’s TV room, the images of the airplane repeatedly being shown on every channel, be it news, sport or entertainment, started to chip away at my innocence. There are murderers who exist; people who only want to cause fear and shock.
I was eight. I couldn’t comprehend why news anchors kept saying that human beings had caused this. People had intentionally driven those airplanes into the skyscrapers, but why would they? Who could ever imagine orchestrating such a horrific massacre?
My views of civilization together with my understanding of good and evil took a hit. Until that point, all I understood was what I had seen in my TV shows – the bad guys turn up, did something naughty and then the Power Rangers came, fought bravely and won. Everything got restored to good in the world and people lived happily ever after.
But then I realized, sometimes there is no ‘happily ever after’; there’s just an ‘after’.
In this day and age of social networking, online media channels and the ability to find out anything by simply asking your phone, it’s hard to keep a child’s purity at bay. Current stories are accessible within seconds so the idea of hiding under a rock and living in your own little bubble is almost impossible.
So should children be sheltered from the real world? Should they grow up thinking that everyone lives in harmony? What age should the realization start setting in that we live in an uncertain society?
Obviously every parent will make their own judgment on deciding the answers to these questions. I can only speak from personal experience and truthfully, I miss the days where my biggest worry was whether my brother was going to pull the heads off my dolls. It was a simpler and purer time.
I appreciate knowledge is power, especially given the political climate between Israel and the other nations. Knowing what is happening and working out how to tackle scenarios appropriately is of course 100% necessary, but seeing hatred all the time is so depressing.
I like to believe one day, there will be peace in the world so I assure you, I will definitely continue to anticipate its arrival. If that seems to you like I’m living in a make-believe land, then there’s only one thing I have to say:
Ignorance is bliss.