Won’t Somebody PLEASE Think of the Children?
By Kristen N. Fox
“Won’t Somebody PLEASE Think of the Children!” If you’ve watched only a handful of “The Simpsons” episodes, I’m sure you’ve seen the character of the gossipy minister’s wife cry this phrase out during a public drama or event, whether there were actually children involved or not. It seems to me that “thinking of the children” has become a catch phrase that many don’t even think about as they use it. And it’s often used as an excuse to try to limit someone else’s behavior, whether it’s what someone else puts up on the internet as a web page, or whether or not adults should be allowed to own handguns.
I think that the whole notion of “childhood” and “innocence” has been idealized beyond the point of recognition, perhaps because many adults have lost their own inner child. When I was of “child” age, I felt like a person, not like a “child”. I had real thoughts and real opinions about what was going on around me. I often hated being told “you’re too young to understand,” mostly because I felt adults used that phrase as an excuse because they either COULDN’T explain something to me or they didn’t feel like taking the time. In fact, according to the history we see in movies, it’s only recently that children’s clothes looked much different than just smaller versions of adult clothes. But now, there’s this broad line drawn between “child” and “adult,” not just the clothes, and unconsciously perpetuating this belief isn’t doing us a lot of good.
My biggest issue at the moment is the idea of repressing society with restrictive laws in order to “protect the children” instead of educating the children about how to navigate safely and make decisions for themselves, empowering them. First off, I’ll tell you that I do NOT have children right now, and I’m not criticizing the way anyone else chooses to raise their children – I’m seriously pondering how to bring the ideals of “education”, “resistance is futile”, “you get what you focus on” and “conscious creation” into my relationship with any future children I may have.
For instance – take the million mom march, a recent expression of the desire to restrict or prevent handgun ownership, mostly fueled by recent incidences of children bringing guns to school and shooting schoolmates and teachers. To me, the issue this brings up isn’t one of gun control, it’s of the issue of how so many people seem afraid of guns and seem unwilling to deal with their own fears about them – so much so that they want this SYMBOL of their fears banned so that they can feel okay again for the moment. And doing it “for the children” sounds so nobel and RIGHT somehow, doesn’t it?
I was raised in a household where my mother absolutely hated guns and wouldn’t touch them or even look at them, and my father collected guns, both rifles and handguns, and taught hunter safety courses. The moment he started bringing guns into the house, he started telling my sister and I all about them. We learned how to hold them, how to check to see if they were loaded, how to shoot them, how to clean them, and even how to reload the ammunition from scratch. My sister was even on the high school rifle team. Still, my mother wouldn’t go near them and my father kept them locked up properly in the basement. So I chose my father’s belief system about guns instead of my mother’s, as did my sister. My mother DID, however, teach us how to use kitchen knives properly and safely, so I also didn’t grow up being inherently afraid of sharp or pointy objects.
What we resist persists. And what we fear is also what we reject, and it comes back to haunt us as long as we continue to give in to the fear and refuse to LEARN. Just as learning about a disease in order to cure it doesn’t mean “giving in” to the disease, learning about how guns work and how to use them, doesn’t mean “giving in” to them. It just means having one less bag of issues to let go of, so we can focus on attracting or creating what we ARE interested in.
Many schools now have “no tolerance” weapon’s policies where if you are seen with anything that’s considered a weapon you’re either sent home or suspended or expelled. I read an article where a first grader had inadvertently brought a small pair of nail clippers to school in his backpack and they accidentally fell out while he was pulling out his books for the day – and he was suspended for a few days! I wondered at who decided what was a weapon and what wasn’t. Given the right motivation, I’m sure you could stab and kill someone with a ballpoint pen or hit someone over the head with a good sized frying pan, like in cartoons – this says to me that outlawing certain “bad” objects isn’t anything more than a temporary fear-reliever.
As an “adult”, I also had the priveledge of hanging out with mothers and fathers of young children who decided to speak frankly about sex with their children instead of hiding it from them and making it into some forbidden or difficult topic. Their children asked questions when they had them, and the parents were honest with them – of course, they had to be honest with themselves first as well. As I did with guns, these children were growing up with a healthy awareness of their own sexuality.
I remember the day I was over to a friend’s house – it was late and her elementary age sons had a few of their friends over. They were scanning through the cable channels, trying to find a good movie, and came across this rather humorous television show from France – it was a talk show and the participants were sitting in chairs, speaking to each other calmly and avidly, in French. But they were totally naked. My friend’s kids laughed, as did my friend and I, but the kids’ friends were sitting in shock and kept looking over to see if they were going to get into trouble. (I think they were even more shocked to see us laughing our heads off!) After a few moments, one of my friend’s sons turned the channel to the movie they had wanted to watch in the first place – no big deal.
I didn’t feel like I grew up without my “innocence” for knowing how to handle guns. I don’t think children who grow up knowing about sex have lost their innocence either. I think we lose our innocence when we decide that there is evil out there in the world from which we need to keep ourselves protected. In this way we learn to constantly guard ourselves (there’s a difference between awareness of something and throwing up a wall to resist it) and focus on what’s “out there” that could hurt us, instead of putting our attention on what brings joy into the world and what makes us happy. In this way, we also learn to react instead of choose. The more aware we become of everything around us, the more obvious it seems that we can’t hold EVERYTHING we don’t like at bay, we have to just let it flow through us, so that we can bring our REAL choices into focus/manifestation.
Some of the most important aspects of being a conscious creator is that we understand that what we resist persists, and that the world around is a reflection of our own belief systems. I really like the idea of educating my own children, not only about things like guns and sex, but about acknowledging, validating and working with their own emotions and thoughts. “Kids” don’t just shoot a schoolmate because an adult thoughtlessly left a gun laying around – there are beliefs and thoughts and emotional issues underlying everything we create in physical reality, including this.
I love the idea of teaching my children how to weigh everything they experience in physical reality against their own sense of integrity, instead of a hard set of rules. I love the idea of teaching children to trust themselves implicitly, to listen to their inner guidance. No, this inner guidance will NOT always match up with “adult” ideas of what’s safe or desireable or polite or acceptable, but this fact doesn’t change when one day people have a birthday and turn 18 either. And yes, it will be quite a challenge for any parent who chooses to raise their children like this – they will have to be honest with themselves about their own beliefs and emotions and reassess things constantly. But if that’s what I’m trying to teach my children to do in the first place, isn’t it best to model that exact kind of behavior? How can I teach my kids to listen to their own integrity if I’m lazy about following my own?
So, is it the children we’re thinking about when we try to clamp down with restrictive laws, or are we trying to avoid our own fears? If we’re not willing to learn about something that scares us, how can our children learn to deal with their own fears? And if we learn to forge our own path through the constant input and excitement of physical reality by listening to our own inner guidance, our children can learn to do the same. AND keep their own happy and strong inner child with them even after they officially become “adults.”
[Originally published on Themestream, June 2000.]