Sunday, December 12, 2010

Kid of the Week. Are you Kid-ding me?

I was watching YNN News on Channel 9 Saturday morning when a story called “Kid of the Week” came on. The channel honored a 7yr old from Malta who said that she did not want presents for her birthday, but instead wanted people to donate canned foods and items to the needy, so that nobody would go hungry during the holidays. I know we are preprogrammed as a society to get excited when a little kid says something like this, so excited in fact that the local news gets contacted. But I for one think it’s kind of disturbing for a 7yr old to be concerned about collecting canned foods for the needy. I don’t mean to be the party pooper, but a child that young shouldn't be consumed with such problems in our communities. Now if you can get yourself past the obligatory "Oh my God, that's so cute" and "Isn't she the most precious thing that ever lived" stuff, try to see my point on this one.

When I was 7yrs old I believed in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and when my birthday came around I wanted great gifts from everyone. That’s what being a kid is. Childhood is supposed to be a time of bliss and innocence, and I feel that it is a parent's obligation to keep their child shielded from the woes of our society, best they can. It’s not up to someone so young to be worrying about people less fortunate. Put that on us: the adults. We’ll keep concerned about canned foods and helping the homeless.

I’m sorry, but I didn’t give two craps about canned food drives when I was 7. I liked toys, and cartoons, and trips to McDonald’s. Furthermore I think that YNN sends a slanted message when they plaster this kid across the screen and call her “Kid of the Week.” It’s not right. To be honest, it’s kind of wrong. The kid of the week should be a kid who cares about normal kid-things, not some kid whose parents (or whoever called) called the local news and told this artificial story, that’s either made up or coaxed, or just an indication of potentially dubious parenting.

Maybe I’m way off on this one. But my first instinct was to get kind of weirded out when I watched this story. Now, I admit, I’m not that in to little kids. I don’t think they’re really that funny, and I avoid little-kid comedy. That’s why I dislike those baby-talking commercials (where the babies buy stocks) and why I know the upcoming Little Fockers has zero chance to be funny. Like I said: too much little-kid-based comedy. But I do believe that they have the right to be free of stress and thoughts of people less fortunate at that time in life. Now that I am older I donate to the Humane Society and collect canned foods, etc, etc. But there’s no need for a 7yr old to be doing that. Enjoy your birthday, kid. And as far as Christmas goes, you just worry about Santa Claus and presents, and leave the heavy stuff to us, the adults.

I may be alone on this, but that level of societal awareness by a child just feels wrong. And I know that some children are exposed to tough times too early because of family hardship and such. For that I'm sorry and do recognize that that kind of start can build character in adulthood. But if a family is in position to think about chairty for others then mommy and daddy should be dealing with that.

I commend the parents that love their children and keep them inside a cocoon of innocence as long as possible, rich or poor, hard or easy, because one day that child will have to worry about the world around them, whether they want to or not. I'm not saying spoil or sugar coat what's really out there, and I'm not saying treat a 19yr old like an apron-stringed child, but this is a 7yr old I'm talking about, and that child has the right to believe that things are all good before she realizes that the bad is out there, almost everywhere you look. Maybe that's over-utopian on my part, I don't know.

Childhood happens once. Nothing should corrupt that short time and/or compromise it. My kid of the week is that kid who runs, and plays, and worries about nothing but candy, and Christmas presents, and being happy. And the parent who has a kid doing that is my parent(s) of the week, especially if it's hard as heck for that parent to do. God bless you. Parenting is everything in this world! Nothing else is more important to molding and shaping. School teachers? technology? The neighborhood influences? Nope, nope, and nope. Parenting. Like Atticus Finch said to his daughter Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird, “I’ll let you know when it’s time to worry.”

Watch for yourself:

Brian Huba

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