Friday, 6 July 2012

But I Don't Want To Grow Up...

     The innocence of children is beautiful to behold. Their way of seeing the world as the magical place it really is. Miracles happen every day, but our cynicism causes us to take them for granted. Children are awed by things we consider ordinary and mundane. For them, everything is easy, and good things don’t always come with a price. They see a world full of kindness and happiness, love and beauty. And their minds work in beautiful ways, finding the little things funny and being pleased by the simplest of gifts. They soak everything in, learning at an extraordinary pace, with imaginations that run rampant and wild. A cardboard box becomes a rocket to the moon, or a pirate ship sailing the seas. Riding a bike starts as a challenge to stay balanced, but eventually turns into a heated drag race through a desert. The stairs can be an expedition to a mountain top, or a slide over rough terrain. Fairies live at the bottom of the garden and Santa still leaves the Christmas presents. Childhood is a precious time, which most don’t appreciate until the day when they wish they could go back to it.

     Somewhere along the line, the real world gets to them, turning them insecure and cynical. The time to play is over, and they are expected to work hard and grow up. They become selfish, jealous and greedy, often without realising or wanting to. The world forces them to change, to become like everyone else. Doubts creep in, confidence wavers, and imagination is stunted. They are exposed to corruption, deceit and violence. Pressure mounts to succeed in school and work. They struggle to fit in with the peers, encouraged to try drugs and sex, scorned if they don’t. Appearances mean everything. A night with friends is considered a waste if alcohol isn’t involved. Money and politics are the biggest players, driving every other desire. Their naivety is stripped away as they discover the real world, the world of the grown-ups. The fantasies of childhood become a distant memory, revisited only in those dazed hours between sleeping and awake, or when looking through old photos and mementos.

     Children, especially when they get to their teens, are always looking to grow up, believing they will find freedom and independence as adults. But the real world is a terrifying place, and once you get there, you’ll wish you could go back.

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