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As the world shrinks

March 28, 2012

When I was a little kid one of the most boring things I could imagine was watching the evening news.  Mostly, I didn’t.  I still knew Walter Conkrite and David Brinkley and Chet Huntley, but I didn’t care about what they had to say.  My world was my home and my little town and the farms of my extended family.

I was six years old when we put a man on the moon.  I don’t remember it.  But when I was seven the Ohio National Guard opened fire on a crowd of protesting students at Kent State University, killing four of them.  I remember that.  I didn’t understand it, but I remember it.  I didn’t know that it was connected to some of those news reels I saw on the television– the ones where men with helmets and machine guns were carrying stretchers through swampy areas or scrambling into helicopters and flying over a jungle.  I wasn’t sure what a Vietnam was, or where it was, or why everyone was fighting over it.  It all seemed so very far away to my young mind.

I can’t fathom what it does to today’s six year old minds to see the graphic gruesomeness that is on not just the evening news, but is available 24 hours a day on dozens of stations.  How do you explain the Taliban to a six year old?  How do you explain Trayvon Martin?  Casey Anthony?  Monsanto?  Child soldiers?  Famine?

I’m glad I had trees to climb and forts to build.  I’m glad my six year old problems consisted of wondering how long it would be until The Jetsons came on and wondering how much it was going to hurt to let my mom pull that loose tooth.

I’m glad I didn’t know what a Vietnam was.




2 Comments leave one →
  1. bethkvogt permalink
    March 29, 2012 8:38 am

    I like to watch the news in the morning … until my daughter comes downstairs.
    Because, really, why watch the news when you have to mute most of it?
    She’s growing up (and facing reality) fast enough.

  2. March 30, 2012 7:37 am

    I, honestly, don’t watch the news. I like to keep the media in their respective places by saving our television for entertainment only. Besides, I know my grandfather will inform me on everything he has consumed from his endless Fox News marathon in my afternoon phone call. :)

    I wonder about how those images affect young ones too… does it make an impression, or does it eventually make them callous to all of the awful things going on in the world?

    I would rather them climb trees and watch the Jetsons too, for now.

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