As we inch closer to my son’s 11th Christmas I look at him and realize that his innocent reality is changing more rapidly than I expected.
In the 90’s, I like to believe that my 11 year old innocence was still intact. While Santa wasn’t exactly realistic, so many more of my untainted beliefs were.
Relationships were based on love, politics were based on merit, education was based on hard work, success was based on accomplishment and relationships were based on real life interactions. Damn! I miss “the good old days.”
Everyday I look at my son, I wonder if he’s being influenced by social media, YouTube, video games, advanced realism, and the expectations to grow up years before he is ready to be grown.
He is so innocent now. So immune to the reality that awaits him in a year or so, going into middle school, or high school. So oblivious to the social expectations that will tell him all the things I wished I could go back and correct about my childhood.
Things I experienced in the late 90’s seemed so “socially forward”. Now, they are less than normal. The fear of “Sex, drugs and rock and roll” from my generation don’t even compare to what our kids will face in their teen years. Because like it or not, they already know about that stuff.
We are no longer fighting an uphill battle with teen pregnancy, underage drinking, or high school pot heads. God how I wish that was our most significant challenges.
Now we have to monitor our kids for so much more, so many significant life changing experiences, so many more intricate, silent, and hidden dangers. This ain’t your mammas childhood. And if you’re not in the fold, baby you’re slipping.
By age 5, those baby teeth smiles are already hiding the sadness of bullying. By age 9, their slowly developing bodies are already preparing for significant experiences that social media and TV has made the norm.
By age 11, their blindness to vulgar language, significnace of life, and sexual acts have been numbed by music, video games, tv and the internet.
By 13, they’ve realized that our generation is so prone to accommodating their requests that we are willing to entrust them with levels of responsibility that our parents would have never imagined. And they have figured out how to manipulate our insecurities.
By 15, they have not only metaphorically “left the womb” but they have decided that they are beyond the consequences of the punishments that await them.
I sit here with my son wondering how to protect him from what’s to come, like so many of you, wondering how I can monitor and protect him from the world we have evolved into.
As his hugs become more infrequent and his kisses become more forced I feel him pulling away from me. Growing up. Moving on. Becoming a part of society that I’m not ready to accept that he is ready for.
Our teenage years are now their tween’s. Our college years, creeping closer to the reality of their high school days. Years of evolution, creeping backward in time with no signs of slowing.
My 18 is now their 14. My college year experiences, now theirs in high school. Plus snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and so much more. Things I am sure I don’t even know about yet.
And I beg, please stay little. At lest for a few more moments in time that I can cherish. Please stay with me in this time, this innocent, oblivious, irreproachable moment.
For god only knows what you have in store for your life. I can only hope that you will entrust in me your secrets. And that you don’t let the world change who I have encouraged you to be.
Please Stay little.