Growing Up Way Too Fast (Getting Age Wrong Part 1)

This is Part 1.  Click here for Part 2: “The Infantilization and a Theology of Aging.”

We are making men and women out of babies.  I know that’s eventually the point, but we’re doing it entirely too fast.  What is worse, our society rushes us out of childhood only to spend the rest of our lives convincing us that we’re too old.  Where’s the love?

GROWING UP WAY TOO FAST

This will be my brief attempt at justifying a lamentation of the loss of childhood in our culture.

Go outside, into the sunshine.  Look around.

Movies! We are exposing our children to movies that border upon terrorism.  [If you watch horror films with your young kids, for the love of God… stop].  There is enough crap in this world fighting to steal the sense of security holding their childhoods intact, our taste for violent television shouldn’t be force feeding it to them in the living room.

Music!  I spent a weekend with our youth group at the local laser tag arena recently.  While we waited in a cacophonous holding chamber for game instructions, I could hear the endearing voice of a seven year old boy singing above the din.  His song of choice?  S&M by Rihanna.  There was something disturbingly normal about listening to a child repeatedly sing “chains and whips excite me.”

Sexy Ads!  We know childhood is in trouble when the advertisement sharks set their eyes upon it.  These folks use sex to manipulate their audiences, and they haven’t stopped at the age of accountability.  The sexualization of girlhood may seem downright atrocious, but it subtly permeates every fabric of our society; manifesting most prominently in advertising, fashion, and pop culture.

Or maybe it isn’t so subtle.

Do little girls need a facial? One salon says yes.


Preteen facials not scandalous enough for you?  Try third grade push-up bras on for size.

Add societal pressure to sexualize, apathetic parenting, familial strife, and individual cases of abuse to the inherent difficulties of maintaining a healthy childhood, and bam!  Children into adults, way too fast.

Tada!

Tune in tomorrow to see how we magically turn adults back into babies!

Allen Marshall O'Brien

Allen Marshall O’Brien is the pastor of a UCC church in Northern California and co-host of the Irenicast. He believes in the importance of education, peace, and ecology, throws things to his border collie Sonata, and writes for multiple platforms.

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