Where Have All The Children Gone...

Published: Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 09:50 AM.

Mrs. Cox, in the fifth grade, taught us arithmetic, reading and spelling. She didn’t teach revenge. We read books that had pictures of little children jumping mud puddles and playing on slides. She helped us grasp the rudimentary elements of knowledge commensurate with our age and ability. She certainly didn’t scare us or threaten us with ideas and worldly affairs way above our station.  

I was eleven years old when Calvin Purvis ran into Bill Argo’s Gulf Station with the news that Russia had just sent this “Sputnik” thing into outer space. Didn’t no one there panic. Mr. Argo didn’t turn to me and say, “Kesley, you’ve got to start training right now to ‘get us back ahead’ of those Commies.” He didn’t give the old “win one for America” speech. He didn’t stick a BB gun or a Ka-Bar knife in my hand and admonish me to “learn to use them”. They talked of the “space race” and what Khrushchev might be up to……but they didn’t include me in the conversation. I was, after all, just a little boy.

When my first son was only a few days old, Coach Wayne Taylor gave me the best single piece of advice I ever received on raising children. He said, “Let him be the age he is. Don’t wish him to be older for your benefit. And don’t try to keep him a little boy after he grows past that stage.”

I wish today those little shaven headed eleven year olds in North Korea had that same opportunity. What a warped sense of life, not the beauty and joy of it, is being forced on them! They will have plenty of chances to see the twisted, contorted world that grown-ups have created. Let’s don’t rush them into that!

Besides, the world picture changes way too often for “long range hates and enemies”. In 1958, we were preparing for the Russians. There was no other enemy looming. I get to be an adult and so much of the world attention has shifted to the Middle East; and then on to Afghanistan and the Al-Qaeda.

Those little boys in North Korea are preparing for a fight against a perceived enemy that may not even exist, or could actually be an ally, when they grow into a position to use all these fighting skills they are so ardently pursuing now.

How sad.

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