Friday, June 06, 2008

Words I Didn’t Grow Up To

When I was a kid, the world was a vastly different place.

Back then, it was safe to play outside with the other kids in the neighbourhood – we’d play ball hockey, tag, or even just go up to the park up the street.

Schools were also considered safe – all the doors were always open, and we could run and be free at recess and lunch times. It was even safe to walk home alone after school.

Today a high school was locked down, because someone brought a gun to school. The words “locked down” never existed in my childhood. But kids today are very accustomed to those words, when put together, say something has gone wrong in our society.

Teachers instruct their classrooms what to do in a lock down – to stay quiet, and keep away from the windows. The once open and free school – a pillar of focus in most communities – is now locked and closed.

We hear all the time about kids being abducted on their way to and from school, how neighbourhoods are no longer the safe places they once were and as is the case today, we hear about schools being locked down.

We live in a very different world than that world where I grew up. When I was a kid, the worst thing I can remember is a couple of other kids getting busted in the washroom for smoking cigarettes.

These days, kids bring guns to school to settle their differences – or maybe it’s for show and tell. But it tells a sad story about the so-called “progress” we have made in the last couple of decades.

Sure, it’s great our kids have access to things we never had before – such as the Internet, computers in the classroom, new teaching methodologies and theories and so on.

But when kids have access to guns, or have to be taught what a lock down is, that’s a different kind of progress – one we shouldn’t be proud of.

The fact that “lock down” has been added to the vocabulary of our youth in a way diminishes and takes something away from childhood.

Childhood is supposed to be a carefree time, where all the burdens of society don’t exist. Childhood should be a time for exploration, creativity, and most of all play.

But it is hard to imagine a playful childhood under a lock down. Pass the navy blue crayon, but do it quickly and quietly – we don’t want to get shot at.

No comments:

Post a Comment