The End Of Innocence?

Recently, my niece and her young son came to visit. I found myself fixated on him, not because he’s incredibly sweet, funny, smart and adorable (which he is), but more because of his carefree attitude. After his initial shyness wore off, he was showing us how many push-ups he can do (significantly more than me, that’s for sure). He was laughing, joking, and just having fun, pure, innocent fun.

Can you recall the last time you felt carefree?

Some of us never had that opportunity. Life came crashing in early on and we had to grow up quickly. Others, like me, were fortunate to live through a season where our biggest issue was whether Mom had washed our favorite shirt or not.

When we’re little, we shouldn’t have to worry or be anxious about anything. It should be a time of exploration, learning and wonder. Is there anything more pure and joyful than laughter from a small child? There’s something so precious watching them play in the snow, or seeing their eyes get big as they take in their first movie in a theater.

Their innocence and excitement can be contagious. As they open that one special gift they asked for, and they scream with delight, you find your own cynicism melting away. You tap into their wholesome energy and joyful spirit, if only for a few moments. It’s a wonderful feeling.

The good old days were real.

When I was growing up, there weren’t any cell phones, computers or social media. It wasn’t exactly medieval times, but technology was still in its relative infancy. I’m sure I sound like an old fogie, but I do believe we had it easier and, dare I say, better. Why? Because we didn’t have all these distractions at our fingertips. We spent more time with each other, not hunched over an electronic device. We played games together as a family. We got into spats playing games together as a family. Someone (usually me) would quit the game we were playing together as a family.

We lived outside. I remember Mom would basically usher us out of the house on beautiful days. It was too nice to be stuck inside in front of the TV all day. Sure, she may have had an ulterior motive and just wanted a few minutes peace from four crazy kids, but she was right nonetheless.

Obviously, everything wasn’t always perfect. I’m nostalgic but realistic. I know there were some hard times too. But I appreciate the fact that I was able to be a kid. I didn’t have to worry about serious matters. We didn’t have a 24-hour news cycle. We could be shielded from some of the ugliness of our world.

Are kids still kids?

Some may say kids are better off today because they’re more informed, more aware. I would argue that may be part of the problem. Our little ones are being exposed to subjects they can’t possibly really understand. They’re getting all this information thrown at them without them having the necessary coping skills to process it. Think about it. I know there are stories I see and read that concern me, and I’m a grown woman with 54 years on this planet. Now imagine those same stories in front of a 5-year-old. Suppose the story is about war or a violent crime. I can be troubled by it, but I’m old enough to think it through and handle my reaction. The 5-year-old doesn’t have the mental and emotional developmental skills to work through what they’re feeling. All they’re left with is feeling afraid. Over time, if those fears multiply, the child may end up feeling frequently anxious or even depressed.

Not every topic of conversation is appropriate for all ages.

“Go play. This is adult conversation.” We heard that phrase quite a bit when we were children. I resented it back then, but I get it now. The adults were trying to protect our innocence, preserve our sweet naivety for just a little while longer. They knew one day we’d be the adults at the table with the cares of the world on our shoulders. They didn’t want to burden us yet because they knew we were too young and might get crushed under the weight of it all. Our time would come soon enough. No need to rush it.

If you’ve ever read the Bible, you know God cares deeply for and about children. Don’t believe me? Great. You know I brought receipts. (Any and all verses, unless otherwise indicated, are from, NIV, emphasis added.)

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court. (Psalm 127:3-5)

Jesus embraced children. His heart was to bless and protect them always. Check this out:

People were bringing little children to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, He was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And He took the children in His arms, placed His hands on them and blessed them. (Mark 10:13-16)

Did you know God wants us to be childlike in our faith and love for Him? Check this out:

He called a little child to Him and placed the child among them. And He said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” (Matthew 18:2-6)

If God wants us to be as little children, do you think He wants our kids to have their innocence stolen or stifled?

I’m sure I’m earning my Kat Controversy label with this article, and that’s OK. I’m willing to stand up for our little ones. I know I’m not alone. I pray you’ll stand with me as we protect our kids and safeguard their innocence. Less technology more family time. Less discussion of topics beyond their comprehension, more encouraging them to use their imagination, to dream, to wonder, to create. And maybe just maybe as we nurture and support their innocence, we might stir up our inner child to come out and play too.

Until next time: stay happy, stay healthy, stay in the know.

Look forward to hearing from you,



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