Saturday morning, bright and early as soon as the sun came up, I was eight and my brother was six and it was our time with the television to watch cartoons without disturbing our parents. If we could not agree on the same show, we would take turns on half hours of Scooby Doo and Space Ghost. The rule was “no fighting out loud” or our parents would get out of bed and turn off the television.
Children decide to settle things on their own. Some of us had such a hard time in grade school that we always needed our teachers and parents to settle things instead. This never created fewer problems with other children. Life was better after we all grew up a little bit. The teenage years were ours and our families were always there. This is when we were innocent, before the real world where “bad” answers are not “cool” and before we learned that we have to support ourselves not just expect our answers from others. This was before Hurricane Katrina, the war in Iraq, and 9/11.
Most of us can say our own children have arrived. We are all aware of the fact that our world has changed. We have simply lost our innocence. As children we fought, cried, laughed, played, and worked hard to learn. As adults, we reconcile, compromise, enjoy, teach and still fight. The difference between adult and child is in lives of innocent days and lives that have left the days when we were innocent behind them.
In our world today natural disaster that we can do nothing about strikes at our cities and our people, enemies attack us in our homes and on our streets, and we know that we can help others but we may pay too high of a personal price without doing much good. These are the lessons we have learned since childhood and these lessons are part of the knowledge we are passing on to our children and trying to protect against.
When I was eight I learned to ride a two-wheeled bicycle. I was scared and I fell off several times before I found my balance. The bicycle did not break in the falls and I had bruises and scrapes, but no serious injuries. My father stood and watched and helped balance the bicycle from behind. Life is not learning to ride a bicycle. We cannot afford to learn the lessons we are paying for today.
Our legacy will be left on this Earth once our time is over. The days when we were innocent will never come again. Looking back, I remember those days and even though I cannot reclaim them preserving the memories is crucial to finding moments of freedom, happiness, and security as an adult. We have remembered 9/11. We have remembered our anger, pain, and loss. Now let us remember when we were innocent. Although we cannot return to our childhood, we must find our peace.