Word count: 5 382
Pages (dbl spaced): 5
P.S. We are allowed to use "I" and "We" etc when we are using a personal example.
Why I Would Never Be A Child AgainChildhood is filled with reasons to be unhappy and frustrated with one’s situation. Everyone remembers his or her childhood differently. Children growing up in small towns will have different experiences than kids raised in the city. Little boys and girls in China will have a childhood that would be alien to boys and girls in Australia. However, there are some basic sources of a child’s unhappiness and frustration that one can not help but feel is universal. Growing up in the countryside of Southern Ontario and belonging to one of the only immigrant families certainly caused a lot of woe for me as a child. However, I was never exposed to the violence and mistrust of living in a big and crowded city. The city kid and I still shared three sources of unhappiness: adults, other children, and ourselves.
Adults are a main source of unhappiness in children’s lives. Kids constantly complain that adults just don’t understand, they don’t take them seriously, and they don’t remember what it’s like to be a kid. For instance, most kids yearned for a pet. (After all, what Disney movie character does not have a creature companion?) If you have never experienced the war between child and parent induced by the want of a pet then consider the following scenario. Early in winter, a boy starts drafting his Christmas list. He has a copious amount of video games and comic books already. What he wants is a fussy, loyal, friend, preferably one who can play fetch. He looks at a book in the library, searching for the right breed of dog for him. The boy decides he wants the classic golden retriever, they are intelligent, playful, and in most movies they are excellent at some kind of sport. He presents his research to his parents, pleading for a nice big golden retriever. Christmas approaches and the child gets more and more excited, he even has a list of possible names ready. Christmas morning comes and there is a big box under the tree with rustling coming from inside it. The boy tears away the wrapping paper to find a startled guinea pig staring back at him. He grimaces and thanks his parents. His parents didn’t mean to disappoint their son, they just didn’t understand that he didn’t want any old pet, he wanted his big, cuddly friend. Later, when he asks for the dog again, his parents contest saying: “You can barely remember to clean your guinea pig’s cage! How will you take care of a dog?”
The parents don’t take the child seriously; they don’t remember what it was like to be a child.
Adults don’t hold a candle to the amount of problems posed by other children. Kids are cruel. They tease each other mercilessly, they form elite cliques and a social hierarchy, and they add drama to every situation. No child has great self-esteem in the first place, and public school is the place where it gets even lower. When she was in grade three, my mother moved from Toronto, where she lived and went to school with other European immigrant children, to southern Ontario. There she went to a country school and lived in a log cabin in the woods. She spoke poor English and her strong Hungarian genes stuck out amongst the very fair skinned English children with light hair. She was held back until her English improved and then she was put into advanced classes. The other children didn’t understand her cultural differences and only saw them as things to be scoffed at. While the other children munched away on their bologna and Wonderbread sandwiches, my mother ate liverwurst and green pepper on homemade potato bread. She felt ostracized at first because she was in the “slow learners” group and later because she was in the “nerd group”. She was experiencing the social hierarchy developed among different cliques in public schools. Any child can tell you who the popular crowd is, who the smart kids are, and which kids one shouldn’t be caught dead with. This “us against them” mentality adds much drama and complication to a child’s life. An origin of much grief comes from the drama generated by wondering how one can avoid the critical eyes of other children, reaching the status of one of the popular kids, or just flying below the radar.
The last focus of unhappiness is generated from children themselves, as individuals. Even as adults, we have pieces of ourselves that we dislike, but we generally have the ability to accept the things we cannot change. Children, on the other hand, dwell on small issues like the colour and style of their hair, the brand of running shoes they wear, and even what kind of school supplies they have. This somewhat stems from the expectations of other students, but it seems that the majority of these feelings come from within the child who only wants to fit in and be accepted. This yearning to be accepted is within the individual. As they think of how great life would be with less freckles and a pair of Lucky Star running shoes, they also have to attempt understanding the adult world around them. It’s not the fault of a parent that their child does not understand the reasoning behind a divorce or why one can’t consume a block of baking chocolate. It is within a child to understand in their own time the reason behind such issues. Understanding such complex topic is a misery all to it’s own. As a child I had a large golden retriever named Max. He was my mother’s dog when she was a teenager. He died when I was around ten and I could not accept or understand that my friend was gone forever. As an adult, I understand what death is and that it is a part of life that can’t be changed. As a child, struggling with the concept was a major source of frustration that I believe is less difficult as an adult. Children’s minds buckle under the weight of the adult world they live in.
The culmination of these aspects of childhood result in a child’s general unhappiness and frustration with the situation they are in. Of course, no action taken by adults can lessen the severity of childhood. The problems we face and struggle through as children shape our personalities as adults. A boy wouldn’t develop a strong sense of resolve without the battle with his parents to gain his beloved pet. My mother would not have her signature streak of independence without going through her childhood being a slice of homemade potato bread stuck in a white loaf. I would not have formed such a perception of acceptance without the loss of a childhood friend. Despite the qualities we gain through the hardships of childhood, the difficulties remain unappreciated to children.