I’VE BEEN THINKING
Carol Goodman Heizer is an author who recently moved to Hood County from Louisville, Kentucky. She has had short stories and articles published in seven editions of “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books. Her column for the Hood County News will appear every two weeks.
Most of us in the senior citizen generation can recall our “growing up” days when peace and quiet seemed to be prevalent in our neighborhoods and most parts of the world. But then things changed. The old western movies showing the good guys always winning and the bad guys always losing became a fairy tale.
Wars appeared in numerous places and for multiple reasons. Financial institutions that had been firmly established for decades began crumbling. International relationships built on trust or friendship began falling apart simply for differing opinions. Finally, societies disintegrated under multiple factors. The uppermost question in most people’s minds was “What’s next?”.
People began realizing their world had somehow become “broken.” A visual picture would be a world globe with cracks running in all four directions – fragility in every area. Then the question in most people’s minds became “How do we fix it?” Some of the greatest minds known to mankind came together and brainstormed for much-needed answers. However, workable solutions evaded them.
A broken world was beyond belief, and the injuries went deep. The victims’ suffering was tragic as they realized they – the people – were now broken. How do you recognize a “broken” person? Easy, if you know where and how to look.
As wars became more prevalent, family members grieved to the depths of their souls and prayed for months or years over loved ones being listed as MIA or POW. Rivers of tears flowed as flag-draped coffins were unloaded from planes. Future hopes and dreams were crushed, and hearts were broken. Children grew up without a parent, sibling or other family members.
As the financial world wobbled on its unsteady legs – and sometimes collapsed, broken people appeared everywhere. Millions lost their jobs, and this was especially devastating in one-income families. For the “fortunate” folks who were able to keep their jobs, wages or hours were sometimes cut, again resulting in financial crises. Second jobs were the name of the game to keep folks afloat amidst the financial crashing waves. Children ate cheaper, less nutritious food and went without many necessities.
As former friendly relationships grew cold and antagonistic, the sense of future uncertainty swept overhead as adults asked, “What if…?” Countries began feeling the unsettling, intangible vibrations. Children heard these conversations, and their smaller world began shaking, although unknown to their conscious mind. However, children are experts at zeroing in on stress, and they began having nightmares and feelings of insecurity. The innocence of childhood began disappearing.
No institution or person can continue to survive under such ever-mounting world situations as discussed above, and the home became the final and most tragic victim of all. Home is where spouses, parents and children should feel their most loved and secure. Yet how can that happen when the world – and the people in it – live with the daily brokenness pounding upon them from all directions? Marriages dissolve, children rebel against authority and the unknown “enemy.” And the home – the stronghold of any society – begins falling apart.
Finally, we must ask ourselves, “What about the children?” – those who are young enough to be the hardest hit by their broken world, but not old enough to do anything about it. Yet they exhibit unexplained fears, sleep disturbances, separation anxieties, eating disorders, bedtime battles, distrust of others, a demand for increased parental attention, behavioral problems in school and an overall sense of anxiety.
As always, the children are usually the most deeply wounded. They are our future – and we must consider being led by a wounded generation.
If you are a family of faith, instill that faith in your children and teach them to be grateful during the good times and to look to that faith to carry them through the difficult or devastating times.
While we obviously cannot control the world situation, we can – and must – guard our children by first of all, loving them unconditionally. We are to show them the error of their ways while reminding them that all of us make mistakes at all ages as we travel through this thing called “life.” We must encourage and support them in their desire to make the world a better place, and we must remind them that we are there to pick them up if they fall.
Remind them of the old adage: “ Failure is not falling down. Failure is not getting back up.”