The other day I went to Dr Earth in Newtown to buy some healthy food and I saw something surprising there: a proof of child abuse. It is a surprising place to find evidence of such a heinous act, but that what’s happened to me. I was looking for some fluoride-free toothpaste when I saw it. I was stunned, surprised and disappointed. It was not healthy, in fact it was downright scary.
It appears that we have been conditioned enough by the corporate media and advertisement that we do not recognise seemingly obvious child abuse. It happened to many young persons and, thanks to the mentioned media outlets, we misinterpret it and even think it is acceptable. We seriously need to re-evaluate our values and think about what we are doing to the children. We need to ask ourselves: what are we not doing anything about child abuse which results in the production of Justin Bieber singing toothbrushes?
I am not trying to be funny, I am looking beyond this seemingly harmless product, which is the result of our acceptance of sacrificing childhood for “fame”. I am talking about what have become of Michael Jackson, Judy Garland, Lindsay Lohan and what may become of Justin Bieber. What happened to their play-times, what happened to their daydreaming, what happened to their times to explore the real wold for themselves???
As a parent, a relative or a friend we can be creative and get involved in opening up new horizons for the children around us. My parents were creative and invented the best “punishment” for me. I can’t even remember what have I done wrong but they forbade me from watching TV or hang out on the streets all the time. I was left only one choice: reading. That I did. I rode through the North American planes with the fearless Apache Winnetou, I’ve been inside the submarine Nautilus with Captain Nemo, I sneaked through the dark covering Osaka when Lord Toranaga’s samurais where attacked by ninjas. That was my first step to even understand how many different people are on this planet.
What am I seeing now among the youth of this age? They are rebellious, frustrated and longing for love and attention. Except they have no idea how to express themselves on their own. They have seen a kid taking a gun to school on the news, they imagine and even feel pressing the trigger of a gun during an armed holdup while playing Grand Theft Auto or watching the newest oldest Hollywood action movie. But we can rest easy since “research” prove that violent movies and video games have no effect on the children’s mind. Children who are too young to muster an intellectual or emotional defence.
Of course what a child sees only part of the equation. How the child interprets it or perceives it also has an effect. How we respond to the child’s questions and how we are allowing our own buoyant inner child to surface would also have influence. This is why it is important to play, to have fun, to laugh as a child, since we are still a child. We need not “grow up”, we may choose to loose our childhood qualities of patience and curiosity, but in a swift decision can reclaim those.
Let’s see if we can notice other forms of abuse, neglect or harm to children? Is sticking a pacifier into a child’s mouth bad? What if it is a digital pacifier called TV which is being stuck into the child’s mind? Is hitting a child acceptable under any circumstances? How about a yelling at, ignoring or ridiculing a child? Is it more important to provide the best clothes, games, holidays to a child or spend more time with them?
I am not proposing an answer to any of these questions, I am merely asking them. It is up to us to act and live together with the consequences of our decisions. Whether it is to buy the singing toothbrush or not…