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Preserve our children’s innocence

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07.MAY.10

Editor: On Friday last, I was just a little taken aback when my seven-year old daughter asked from the backseat of the car: “Mommy, what does ‘masturbate’ mean?” My first reaction was to ask where she had heard that word. My innocent child, who is already an avid reader, was only browsing a newspaper during the ride home.{{more}} I explained the meaning of the word as simply and harmlessly as I could. I was prepared to some extent, having been previously challenged on separate occasions to explain ‘sex’ and ‘rape’. I thought I was doing a good job at preserving her childhood innocence with my factual, yet simple, and somewhat vague explanations devoid of any lurid details. You can, therefore, imagine my complete surprise, and perhaps dismay, to find a note on the topic of sexual abuse in her notebook that very weekend. Sexual abuse was defined and the consequences listed. This was a Grade 2 lesson in Health.

Editor, I appreciate the effort of our teachers to seek to protect our children by providing them with information. However, I find it very sad that this has to be at the expense of our children’s innocence. It seems completely impossible nowadays to shelter our children from exposure to social negatives in some form until they are old enough, mature enough and grounded firmly enough in the values that their parents want to instill.

Our society, our culture and our media are stealing our children’s innocence at younger and younger ages every day. Headlines declare “Prospect man masturbates in front of school child.” The television relays in full colour shocking images of our teenagers performing erotic dances at a competitive event. Our radio stations blare music with immoral messages. Graffiti in public places and even in schools put explicit sexual images and messages on view to all. There are provocative sources lurking everywhere a child turns! What’s a parent to do?

What is most distressing is the high incidence of sexual crimes – indecent exposure, rape and incest. How do we save our children?

And in the midst of this and many other ills, our school children in the Richmond Hill area are to be assailed with clearly an adult situation by the introduction of a bar in the heart of the school zone. Appalling! This is totally inappropriate. Don’t we have enough trouble already?

Children are children for a few all too brief years, and have decades of adulthood ahead of them. For Heaven’s sake, let our children be children for as long as they can. Perhaps a missing component of the Education and Wellness Revolutions is a “Preserve our Children’s Innocence” campaign.

Parent in Distress

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