We may not be at the end of history, but we may be in the bottom of the eighth inning of childhood. It does not take clairvoyance or super sensory powers to see its demise happening before us. One just needs eyes and ears that still work semi-reasonably well.
The elimination of childhood is a recurring theme throughout time. I don’t think your average Spartan boy or girl had a very happy childhood. It was short and especially brutal. If they failed the post-birth physical, children were smashed against rocks or left alone to die. We are much more sophisticated now, and eliminate unwanted or “unfit” children in the antiseptic sterility of a clinic.
Modern-day children may not have to prove themselves in mortal combat at a young age, but a host of sophisticated weaponry is still being used against them, hammering away at the innocence of childhood.
It is not coming in a singular momentous event either. In 2021, childhood is not being bludgeoned as much as being dissolved, the way gold dissolves when chlorine is poured over it. Almost daily, there is a story about some youth-targeted pop culture iconography that is being “updated” to make it more “relevant” and serve the demands of a culture that is increasingly hostile to the blueprint written by God the Father and refined by God the Son.
The first lesbian kiss on a Disney Channel show is touted. A same-sex-attraction story arc in the Star Wars saga is hinted at. Even the author of the Harry Potter books has “come out” to claim the head wizard of Harry’s alma mater was gay. For a time, J.K. Rowling was hailed as a forward-thinking champion of the age. A few years later, those same people who had praised her were leading her up the steps of the social media gallows for suggesting men and women were — men and women.
This past week I learned that Batman’s famous sidekick Robin is bisexual. I had no idea Dick Grayson was struggling with his sexual identity all those years ago when I read the comic books. I just thought he liked tights. And besides, I was much more interested in the schemes and evildoing Batman was thwarting.
It isn’t just gender ideology that is robbing our children’s innocence. Staggeringly high divorce rates and high instances of cohabitation without the benefit of marriage places children in very adult situations they just aren’t equipped to handle — yet handle these things they must.
Children have been turned into products and have suffered the ultimate casualty all products eventually inherit: they grow out of fashion. If you see five people walking in the park with baby strollers, you are liable to see two or three of those strollers occupied by chihuahuas. Baby products may be an $88 billion industry, but the pet industry in America is worth more than $100 billion.
Stemming this tide will take a lot of courage. It will take being willing to be called a lot of bad names and be thought a fool. Characterizations will follow, suggesting someone who is disturbed by taking innocence away from children is someone who wants to take America back to the “morality” of the 1950s. The case can be made that anyone willing to fight for a child’s right to their childhood is more accurately described as someone who wants to progress forward past centuries of ancient pagan practices.
Whether it is comic book characters, children’s literature, the collapse of traditional marriage — take your pick of what ails us, the common denominator is that adults are making the rules and children are paying the price.
I have a dog in this fight. I have a 3-year-old grandson who is soon to be a statistic, a child of divorce. He will be bombarded with images and concepts that he will not be prepared to process. His road will be long and fraught with peril. Maybe not physical peril like it would be if he had been born in Sparta, but the culture will come for him and want to make him one of its own nonetheless.
My job is to pray and act, so that in a timely fashion, he learns what really matters, what will really make him happy and well adjusted. God loves him. God wants him in heaven with him. And God is in this world but not of it.
I feel like I’m taking on the army of Xerxes. Hope I come home with my shield and not on it.