Our children jumped over their innocence...0

Our children jumped over their innocence…

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Our children jumped over their innocence...0It’s a lost world of innocence, and a deeper tragedy for children. The second half of the last century witnessed kids, who had first lost their innocence by getting themselves exposed to the essence of generation gap; their authority was rejected in the age of protest. Faced with a lonely world, kids lost their love.

Nazarul Islam

In the 1950s children lost their innocence.

They were liberated from their parents by well-paying jobs, cars, and lyrics in music that gave rise to a new term —the generation gap.

In the 1960s, the children had lost their authority. It was a decade of protest—church, state, and parents were all called into question and found wanting. Their authority was rejected, yet nothing ever replaced it.

In the 1970s, these children had lost their love. It was the decade of me-ism dominated by hyphenated words beginning with self.

Self-image, self-esteem, self-assertion….It made for a lonely world. Kids learned everything there was to know about sex and forgot everything there was to know about love, and no one had the nerve to tell them there was a difference.

In the 1980s, kids lost their hope.

Stripped of innocence, authority and love and plagued by the horror of a nuclear nightmare, large and growing numbers of this generation stopped believing in the future.

In the 1990s kids lost their power to reason. Less and less were they taught the very basics of language, truth, and logic and they grew up with the irrationality of a postmodern world.

In the new millennium, children woke up and found out that somewhere in the midst of all this change, they had lost their imagination. Violence and perversion entertained them till none could talk of killing innocents since none was innocent anymore.

It’s a lost world of innocence, and a deeper tragedy for children. The second half of the last century witnessed kids, who had first lost their innocence by getting themselves exposed to the essence of generation gap; their authority was rejected in the age of protest. Faced with a lonely world, kids lost their love.

Plagued by the horror of a nuclear nightmare they lost their hope. Growing up with the irrationality of a postmodern world kids lost their power to reason and found out that they had lost their imagination too.

And, finally, the last shreds of their innocence have been lost, thanks to the cyber world and celebrity.

The astonishingly grown-up air of our nursery entrants in recent years, coupled with escalating parental expectations has compelled almost every nursery applicant to attend a play school. Many of them are stretched to KG level standards and their parents appear to be vastly impressed by the ‘phenomenal’ knowledge that their toddlers display.

The proud parents lament their own lack of knowledge and awareness even when they were much older. Their charged-up countenances are eager to find out the latest pedagogic approaches and technology that would enhance their wards’ quantum and quality of learning.

WhiteHat Jr has emerged as a coding learning platform for young minds with the lone mission of transforming kids from consumers to creators of technology. This is made for children (6-8 years) to learn programming and they are then encouraged to create games, animations and applications.

Fundamentals of coding – logic, structure, sequence and algorithm are taught to enable kids to generate creative outcomes like websites, animations and apps. However, experts are of the view that building software is not a child’s play; it may take years to become an apt software developer if one starts from scratch. How to code cannot be taught easily to children; they can just be trained in how to modify a template.

To learn directly how to make an App without total computer knowledge is not an easy task. It is not practicable to develop software without sound knowledge of any programming language or technology stack. One begins to wonder if this is the unalterable truth or the naked reality—are all our conceptions and myths about “innocent’’ children themselves an exploitation by the conscious “experienced” adults?

Do we take that innocent affection and simple love of which only a child is capable as our birthright? Do those to whom we give birth have no right? Children have not denied us the fulfillment that they can offer; they continue to reassure us of the existence of a future, while we can only stand for that which is past.

They justify for us the debility and helplessness of old age as being symbolic of the stage of life when the old man transformed acquires a new simplicity – as Nietzsche implied in Thus Spoke Zarathustra when dealing with the “three transformations”.

It is adults who, strengthened by the new awakening force that children provide, can make their lives meaningful by looking on them as symbolic of the “mystic center”. Do adults have the right to be psychologically and emotionally supported by children when they lock the gates of a dignified life to them, when they place them on doorsteps under declining shadows? In Christian iconography, children often appear as angels. Paintings abound with soft figures of little ones, draped over the large bodies of grown-ups.

In almost all cases the little angels with soft limbs and cherubic faces stand for un-defiled beauty and un-fallen perfection. In art, they frame with elegance and innocence the central passion of evil and destruction which are enacted by the central figures of adults.

They stand for the ideals of happiness and harmony.

Their psychological impact is on the soul; they symbolize formative forces of an unconscious, beneficial and protective kind. It is not ironic that adults should derive psychological protection from beings to whom they do not offer even material protection. The mythology of many major religions conceives of the entrance of God into this world as a troubled child.

When Christ was born the “Massacre of the Innocents” destroyed thousands of little children. The Christ-child survived by escaping to the Land of the Jews, but even there was no room for him in the manger.

Even today when one dreams of a child, the interpretation is that some great spiritual change is about to take place. One also thinks of the mystical child who solves riddles and teaches wisdom, the “child that is father of man”.

But men forget that at least on the physical level they owe a responsibility to children who sustain them so well mentally and spiritually. On the mythic plain of the general and the collective, one thinks of the heroic child who liberates the world from monsters.

We had realized long ago, that man does not live by bread alone but needs an emotionally warm climate to realize his potential. Although urbanization has altered the functional and structural pattern of the family unit, it does not mean that parents should not be co-partners of other socializing agents in society.

Hopefully, if realization dawns that we are heading for a generation of mental giants but emotionally crippled pygmies, we might avoid the scenario where a one-month-old baby is found interacting with the computer screen.

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Nazarul IslamThe Bengal-born writer is a senior educationist settled in USA. He writes for Sindh Courier and the newspapers of Bangladesh, India and America.  

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