Childhood – Blog Carnival

Welcome to the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival. This week’s word is: Childhood.

You are welcome to join in either by writing or reading or both. If you write a post on the topic of ‘childhood’, please add your link to the little widget below so we can all find it!
It doesn’t matter if your post is a day or so late, the carnival never ends around here 😉

Remember, if you tweet your post or any of the others in the carnival, please use the hashtag #owaat.

Not My Childhood

A few weeks ago, a lady was brutally murdered by a young man in our sleepy little town.

This young man didn’t know his victim and had no reason at all to dislike her, he just arbitrarily decided that he was going to kill her that morning as she washed her car.

The question which has been burning around here ever since is “Why?” and it appears the young man’s answer is simply “Why not?”

Now, before I go any further, I want to say that I in no way condone this senseless crime and am glad that the killer has been arrested and will be charged accordingly. Whatever else you think you read here, that remains true.

What brings a young man to kill a random stranger?

This was not a ‘robbery gone bad’ or anything like that, he simply saw her and decided to kill her.

What I’ve been told is that the young man in question was brought up in a gang culture, a culture where theft, assault and murder are seen as negative only when they happen to you.

When it’s you doing it to other people, these things are more status symbols or rights of passage.

This is a culture which is so twisted that ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ is as alien as life on Mars.

There is a high likelihood that the killer killed for nothing more than ‘respect’ and status among the people he lived with and associated with every day.

As I heard that explanation of his actions, I was reminded of the song ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ by Coolio.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFK6H_CcuX8

In it, Coolio tries to explain the way he was raised, not so much by his parents but by the culture all around him, a culture that probably the majority of the people reading this blog can’t really understand or comprehend.

A culture which should really be called a sub-culture within the American culture but which is so far removed from it that it’s almost unrecognizable as such.

The childhood that these people experienced is simply nothing like what you or I experienced.

That doesn’t excuse this murder, but it does go a long way toward explaining it.

Riots

Then we come to see the riots in Britain a few weeks ago.

What brought youths to run wild on the streets, ignoring law, authority and any sense of decency and decorum?

This video at the BBC website might help explain it: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14458424

These are kids who feel totally outcast by society. They have no understanding of economics or how the world of the ‘rich people’ works, they simply see ‘us’ and ‘them’ and have no outlet for their frustration and feeling of powerlessness.

Rioting isn’t the answer, but rather it’s a symptom that opens our eyes to a greater problem.

And it comes back to childhood.

Different Childhoods

When I think of childhood, I think of the picture at the very top of this page. Children happily playing on swings and play equipment, learning and growing in a world full of possibilities.

I talked with my six year old son the other day about what he wanted to do when he grows up and he told me he has no idea.

My response to that was that at six years old, that’s fine, he has plenty of time and the world is his oyster.

So many children though are taught completely the opposite.

The world, they’re told, is against them. They’ll never succeed, never get good jobs, never drag themselves up out of the mud. What you see is what you get.

Although it doesn’t happen so much here in the West, the picture at the beginning of this post is reality in many parts of the world. Children dragged into battle to become child soldiers. At an age where we are worrying about immunizations and how well they’ll do in school, they’re given AK-47’s and sent out to kill or be killed.

What Are We Doing?

Childhood. It has so much effect and bearing on the rest of our lives.

We worry about our kid’s childhoods and bringing them up ‘right’ and yet ignore the hundreds of children just across the tracks whose childhoods are shaping them to be thieves and rioters and murderers… and we do nothing about it.

Nothing.

Do we?

About PeterP

I am a blogger, author, stay at home dad, speaker, web hosting trainer and geek (I was so excited to get an iPad that I actually made up a song and dance about it). I am English by birth, but currently live in California with my wife and our three children. I ran a web hosting business for nine years and found that many, if not most of my clients had never learned how to use any of the functions associated with hosting so I wrote a book to try and teach just those skills. I must admit to having fallen in love with WordPress (possibly a little TOO much) and I honestly find it hard to understand why anyone would use anything different to build a site! WordPress is wonderful! My passion is to help others achieve their goals with their websites/blogs. I believe that, with a little help, anyone can have an awesome site.

19 thoughts on “Childhood – Blog Carnival”

  1. katdish says:

    Gangs are replacing families as the major influences in the lives of children, and they are just about everywhere, not just in the big cities anymore.

    1. PeterP says:

      Absolutely…

      And I have to ask “Where is the Church?”

  2. You’re right, Peter. We have a responsibility to be the light He made us to be and that’s going to take many forms and bring us into uncomfortable places. Thanks for the sobering reminder and challenge.

    1. PeterP says:

      You’re welcome, Jason.

      So many times I see the Church railing against some rapper or someone who’s speaking from his heart, from the experiences life has given him and I wonder where the Church were when that kid was growing up in an abusive home, neglected, beaten and formed into the bitter, hurt man we see today.

  3. nance marie says:

    There are many different combinations of actions that feed into the many problems and the possibilities.

    Yet, your post might cause some to see a child or children somewhere in their life and give them what they need.

    1. PeterP says:

      The problem with ever writing about a topic like this is that the subject is always too broad and has too many variables to fit into a six hundred word post.

      I just hope that somehow what I wrote will do what you said and cause someone somewhere to give a child hope!

  4. Father Stephen says:

    I intended to use this opportunity to congratulate you both on reaching your 14th wedding anniversary today. Having read your post I think, instead, I’ll congratulate you both on steering your children thus far through the maze and perils of life – and pray for God’s blessing and protection over them for the future.

    1. PeterP says:

      Well, thank you for the wedding anniversary congratulations that you chose not to give 😉

      And for the parenthood congratulations that you DID give!

      1. Father Stephen says:

        You’re welcome.

  5. Hazel I Moon says:

    I help support a “missionary” who is training teachers for “Good News Clubs,” and “Release Time Education” Child Evangelism Fellowship is the organization that sponsors these places where children can learn about Jesus and receive Him into their heart. They go where there is NO church here in America (and other countries too) They visit the homes and encourage the families to also receive Jesus and to attend a Bible believing church. when my children were in grade school I volunteered as one of their teachers. My youngest daughter was saved in a Good News Club around the corner from our home. I admit it is a jungle out there, and the church needs help.

  6. floyd says:

    You’ve struck a nerve with me in this post. I see the potential in all children, obviously because they were created by God. It is the world view that you spoke of that destroys their lives. In the end the status symbol of a culture is nothing more than fear of not being part of what ever it is they we’re born into. These children are not even aware that it is the scared and the weak that are leading and destroying their lives.

    We need to do more… I need to do more…

  7. Maureen says:

    There was a very interesting piece recently at OnBeing (if I recall correctly) about Mexican and southwestern drug gangs’ appropriation of Catholic saints and their use of made-up saints. A perversion of religion and faith to be sure.

    Jut this afternoon I saw a Pulitzer Foundation film made by kids in Chicago who are trying to stop the violence in their own neighborhoods.

    It is not that nothing is being done. A lot of very good initiatives can be found. They are a start but they cannot singly or collectively override decades of entrenched root causes. That is not reason to give up on the efforts but a call to be realistic.

    Often, the best we can hope for is to save even one.

  8. Glynn says:

    Just a few miles from where I live is a part of town where muder seems to happen daily. Yesterday, a 14-year-old girl walking home from school was shot in the face – she was an intended victim in the wrong place at the wrong time. Like the child on the playground who died from a stray bullet.

    The church is started to try to ree-establish itself in the area. Numerous local congregations have programs, ministries and outreach. But hte killing is continuing.

  9. Louise G says:

    They are all our children. Like the African phrase, Ubuntu — I am me because you are you. I cannot be me if you are not you.

    We can and are making a difference. it takes each and everyone of us to create a world of change.

    Thought-provoking post Peter. Thanks!

  10. Amy Nabors says:

    I have a hard time imagining this having grown up in a sheltered world. Even now though gangs are starting to creep into our small town.

    1. PeterP says:

      That’s the problem most of us face, I think.

      We simply have no concept of this kind of culture

  11. I’ve been reading “The hole in our Gospel” by Richard Stearns, and he talks about a similar topic that you raised here.
    You’re right, I‘ve got to do something about it.
    If we can’t help everyone, that shouldn’t keep us from helping the ones we can.
    BTW, I hope I can participate in the blog carnival again soon. I’ve been so busy that I could hardly keep my blog “alive” lately…

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