I grew up in the “before”. My sweet girls were not so lucky. Like the other children of today, they grew up with cable and the internet. I remember records, cassettes, and 8- track tapes. I remember black and white television, having only 3 channels, and the change to color television. There were plenty of bad things going on when I was a child; war, social injustice, you name it. There has always been plenty of “ugly” to go around. There really is nothing new under the sun.
I lived during the Vietnam War but thankfully I don’t personally remember much about it that I didn’t learn in a classroom. I don’t remember much because it was before, before cable and the internet and the 24/7 bombardment of news reports and social media. Before graphic images, and videos of violence, and hate, and heartbreak were the hook that pulled you into the story and burned their way into your brain, never to be erased.
Today you would have to hide in a windowless room with a blindfold and headphones on to escape the flow of information. Wherever you go, you are bombarded with information, much of it inaccurate I might add. Please understand. I value knowledge. I have no wish to be ignorant. However, sensationalism and opinion are not news and when do we decide enough is enough?
My children have never known a time “before”. Their dad has worn the uniform of his adopted country their whole lives and that has made those images and reports even more real and close to home. Like others of their generation, thanks to the events of 9/11/01, when they were oh so young, they really don’t remember a time when we weren’t at war. When those 24/7 images weren’t part of their world. It has had a huge part in forming who they are. It has made them strong and resilient, but it has also taught them about fear and loss. And sadly, like those who lived during the attack on Pearl Harbor, they will remember. That is not wrong. We should remember, but we must not allow ourselves to be crippled by the memory. We must change what we can and move forward.
We make a choice every day to love or to hate, to do good or to do evil. We can hurt or we can heal. We teach our children with every choice we make. This is the world we live in now. 24/7 seven days a week, the information bombards us. We have to decide what to do with it. Will we allow it to change us or will we use it to change the world?
Every day, all over the world, things are happening that children will never be able to forget. Events are occurring that will form who they are, for good or ill. We as adults, by our actions, determine whether those events and their memories will be blessings or curses.