Monday, 9 January 2012

The Innocence of Youth

It's December 31st (I know you won't be reading this until January 9th). I just packed up all the Christmas decorations and tree. I always do on December 31st. For me, Christmas is strictly for December. But as I was folding the lights up, and pushing the tinsel into the big red bag, I felt a little sad. I had enjoyed the soft glow of the Christmas fairy lights reflecting from the tinsel dressed Christmas tree. And all the little things I have bought over the years that reminded me of my childhood Christmases. Christmas in the 70's was the most exciting time of my childish year. All of the traditions, stories and fun.

This morning as I put the tinsel in the bag, I sighed with a sense of sadness knowing that those times are gone. I sometimes try to recreate them using the same tastes with Christmas food, and the same kind of decorations, but things are different now. I'm all grown up (and then some), and the delights of childish innocence, and magic of Christmas just happening are finished. Now if Christmas is going to happen, the Christmas fairies don't seem to be there anymore. It's up to me to make it happen. In days gone by it was the tireless efforts of my mother, grandmothers and aunt that made Christmas what it was. As kids, we just indulged and enjoyed.

That made me think of my childhood in general. Being a kid in the 60's 70's was great! I didn't think about the ills of society, the troubles of economics, the fears of a degenerate population. I think I heard whispers of some trouble in Borneo, and floods in Queensland, and perhaps some thing awful had happened in New Guinea. But I was a kid, and it didn't effect me. I wasn't too worried about the world around. I lived on a farm, and I had 300 acre home property to wander about on, with my horse, dog and pet sheep. And I didn't have a mobile phone so my parents could contact me at any moment. When I got home, I didn't jump on facebook and update my status. I was lucky if I used the telephone plugged into the hallway wall more than once a month.

Ah, the innocence of youth. What a wonderful thing.

Then that makes me think, what about our youngsters today. They have war, murder, riots, rape and drug deals pumped into their living area just about every evening around news time. There are stories of economic woe, doomsday is threatening, if not in reality, at least in the movies - after all, the Mayan Calendar finished in 2012.

Are our kids living an innocent carefree life, as I did when I was a kid? I'm not sure that they do. We don't let them outside very much to explore unattended, because of our own fear. That's a shame.

Perhaps it is up to us story tellers to get our kids reading at least, and bring them into a world that perhaps might be fairyland to them, but was a reality to generations past.

Hope you all had a great start to the New Year, and wishing you all the best in your endeavours for 2012.

Meredith Resce

Author - Period Drama Romance (and other stuff too. This year might be different, so watch this space)


  1. Meredith, great post! I know my kids have a lot less freedom than I did & I read news online rather than watch tv news because the content is often violent and scary. Kids books are important because they provide our children with an escape into a magical world - something I've always treasured :)

  2. So true Meredith. I notice it so much with my grandchildren now. Their's is such a different world and definitely not as safe, innocent or as wholesome as our lives as children seemed. Some might say we were just more naive. I love to do things with my grandchildren that help them to get a glimpse of the 'old times', like play fiddlesticks or snakes and ladders, find snails and lizards in the garden, climb trees (them not me), go for bush walks and billy cart rides, fly kites. They're all waiting to read my books as well because they know they are about our family in the past. I'm really glad about that. I think there's so much kids can learn from the past and so much they ought to know life before 'screens'. Let's not stop reminding them!

  3. I recently moved from city to country, and in this regard it was like moving a generation into the past. Kids around here are a lot freer to wander about on their own than their city kin, and technology hasn't penetrated as deeply. They do seem to be happier, too.

    On a related matter, I've read that it's not uncommon for young people to be diagnosed with depression or related conditions due to concerns about global warming.

  4. Thanks for your interesting post Meredith - an apt reminder to us. Yes, our kids do grow up in a world that is very different to our childhood world, I agree. I was just responding to a friends FB post on the benefits of play versus academic learning. I was glad reading the article that I grew up in a wonderful, "safe" world - also where we had so much fun from making mud pies and playing imaginary games - compared to the kids of today who have so much - but also have so little, if you know what I mean.

  5. So true Meredith. And yet I wonder how much of the current craziness in the news washes over our kids, much like they did over you and I when we were children. I know my dad had the news on every night, but can't remember much at all. My kids still seem to live in their happy, imaginary world most of the time and world events do little to impact them.

  6. Your reflections took me back to my own childhood, with magical Christmasses and toys that we made ourselves from whatever materials were around. A very different culture, indeed. I don't have grandchildren yet, but I will be very conscious of teaching them the satisfying simplicity of yesteryear. Thanks, Meredith.

  7. Thanks Meredith. You've just given me another reason to write!!

  8. My daughter once said 'Mum, I don't want to grow up' and I said 'Why?'
    'Because the world will be a terrible place with global warming and everything.'
    So after convincing her that God is still in control no matter what happens I got to thinking how important it is to partner with our children as they live in this world of many, many messages.
    There may be changes, culturally, technologically, economically, etc since we were little, but God remains the constant. He isn't fazed by that which pricks our fears, and he still calls children to himself.

  9. I'm with you, Meredith. Many young kids I know have more 'existential angst' than I think we who grew up in the '70s did. It's sad and we have to change it in our own way, and for we authors, I guess that's books.

  10. For me, growing up in the eighties sounds like it was pretty similar to your experience (except we had just a couple more of the technologies that are now taken for granted). I paid no attention to what was going on in the world - I didn't care.

    My kids, at 4 and 6 years of age, are still too young to be worried about the world's problems, but I do wonder how much longer it will be before they are sucked into all of that. For now, I find that it is the anxiety that my wife and I show that affects them most. My kids may not understand that bills must be paid, but they can tell when Mummy and Daddy are worrying about it. This is another good reason to cast our cares on God.

  11. A friend and I were discussing school holidays. If we weren't gone to a friends place by 8am Mum would give us jobs. We grew up in a tiny beach community where everyone knew each other and we would trail around on our push bikes, dogs following us. It's so different now isn't it. Ah- the old days. They really were good.

  12. I wish we could re-create the innocence we had as children. I also wish we could keep our children innocent as long as we can.

    I also hope that my children will know a bit of freedom. At least playing in the dirt of the backyard, like I did.

    Innocence is a precious gift but unfortnately too often we are jaded by reality and life.


  13. It was an amazing carefree innocence. In many ways I'm trying to give as much of that as I can to my kids. Tv goes off when the news comes on. Their friends are in Facebook and we take out kids tothe library. The next ten years will be intersting...

  14. Parenting always has its challenges, and pushing aside Facebook to find our teenagers is not easy. I try and use whatever they're into, to connect with my kids more. For this generation, it's Facebook! Who knows how that will change in the future, but for now, I ride the same wave they do and share the journey with them. They will often ask me if I saw something 'trending' on FB. And we can talk about how this impacts their world. I'm thankful for every opportunity I get to hear them out and process life together. Blessings :)