Friday, July 11, 2008

Innocence gone

I often find myself asking the question "whatever happened to the days when kids were innocent?" and then I stop and realize that the innocence of children didn't even exist when I was a child.

I blame TV and bad parenting. The media does this fantastic job of introducing sexuality to children at the earliest age possible with Disney movies such as Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, HECK, even the Lion King. In every one of these movies the main character has a love interest that is perused and in the end "they all live happily ever after" and the movie ends with this classic kissing scene all while three, four and five-year-old children sit with their eyes unblinkingly staring at the screen. Its no wonder the age girls lose their virginity and become pregnant is becoming younger and younger. I am not saying its all Walt Disney's fault, because it definitely isn't, its every media company out there followed by every parent that allows their child to watch all that nonsense.

What happened to the days when premarital sex was completely taboo? Now a days you become some sort of a joke if you happen to be a virgin past age 18. I remember distinctly having a conversation with a friend of mine when I was in Junior High about prom (of course I knew I was never going to go, because good Muslim girls do not attend co-ed dances) and I remeber her telling me that prom was going to be the night that she lost her virginity. I was immature then, and while if someone were to say something that idiotic now I would knock some sense in them, I simply smiled and awkward smile. A million thoughts were racing in my mind, however. "How could you simply sleep with someone just because its prom night?" "What if the guy you go with is just your friend and nothing more?" "What if you get pregnant?" "What if your parents find out?" All these thoughts raced in my head, all the while, I was only 13 years old. Today, I look at my nieces and nephews two of which are in that same age range and when I think back to that conversation I am moved to tears and my heart hurts. My mind can't help but realize that while at 13 my friend was talking about giving up her virginity when shes 18 there are girls as young as 11 giving birth to babies - babies giving birth to babies!!!

And its not just the girls, its the boys too. Society builds this enormous pressure on boys to be these tough guys so much so that answering "Yes" to the question "Are you a virgin" is all of a sudden a shameful thing. What is wrong with society? These poor, poor children are being robbed of a childhood. I've worked with children as young as five years of age, some of these children are Muslim and it devastates me to hear them talk about the things that they talk about. I wonder what kind of parenting their parents offer them. It appalling to hear a child as young as five years old, Muslim or not, singing "Slap That" by Akon or "Candy Shop" by Fifty-cent. What kind of message are we sending out children? What bothers me more than that is the thought of the kind of TV shows they watch when five year old kids are playing boyfriend and girlfriend. Sure, it might be cute when they are that young, but mommy won't be ooh-ing and aww-ing when her little girl comes home one day and says she's pregnant.

I often wish my parents were far more strict on me than they were when I was younger, I wish they asked more questions and made more rules to be followed, perhaps then I would not have made the many mistakes that I did back then. I pray to Allah that I can learn from the mistakes that my mother and father made and be able to better preserve my childrens' childhood. Don't get me wrong, my parents did the best job they could, its just that the environment I was in was a bit different and required a stricter approach. I pray that Allah (swt) protect each and every child and that he opens the eyes of every parent s that they may see the evil world we are living in.

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