Tag Archives: innocence

Friday Poem – A Cradle Song

A beautiful poem by the English poet William Blake (1757 – 1827) about a mother’s love for her child and the awareness of the inability to be able to stop the march of timemother-and-child or stop the child growing up and losing all its innocence.

A Cradle Song

Sweet dreams form a shade,
O’er my lovely infants head.
Sweet dreams of pleasant streams,
By happy silent moony beams

Sweet sleep with soft down.
Weave thy brows an infant crown.
Sweet sleep Angel mild,
Hover o’er my happy child.

Sweet smiles in the night,
Hover over my delight.
Sweet smiles Mothers smiles,
All the livelong night beguiles.

Sweet moans, dovelike sighs,
Chase not slumber from thy eyes,
Sweet moans, sweeter smiles,
All the dovelike moans beguiles.

Sleep sleep happy child,
All creation slept and smil’d.
Sleep sleep, happy sleep.
While o’er thee thy mother weep

Sweet babe in thy face,
Holy image I can trace.
Sweet babe once like thee.
Thy maker lay and wept for me

Wept for me for thee for all,
When he was an infant small.
Thou his image ever see.
Heavenly face that smiles on thee,

Smiles on thee on me on all,
Who became an infant small,
Infant smiles are His own smiles,
Heaven & earth to peace beguiles

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What is Appropriate Viewing for Children?

Well in my opinion definitely not the latest Batman, Spiderman or Superman!

I am talking children of pre-school/reception year here, so the under-fives in particular.

Films have classifications for a reason. Even those classed as parental guidance really sometimes should not be shown to very young children.

Television as well has its division, CBeebies and Milkshake for the under sixes and CBBC and CITV as older counterparts. I know that with the 500 million channels out there, there is also Disney Junior, Nick Jnr, etc.

But as parents we have to be responsible for what our children watch.

SC watches CBeebies, occasionally Milkshake (and even then the ads are censored, even these can be inappropriate for the age range)

The reason?

I firmly believe that children are extremely impressionable at this young age. Their imaginations work overtime and everything and anything can be used in play situations.

A firm favourite at the moment is Tree-Fu Tom. This is a harmless animated series about a little boy who has magical powers and does tree-fu (gets the children up doing basic non-violent martial art moves) whilst saving Treetopolis and his friends from some disaster.

However, SC loves the programme so much that he really believes he can do Tree-Fu magic. He went into school and started practising this magic, I hasten to add not touching any other child, just moving his arms around and making swoosh noises, but other children thought that because of the sounds and movement he was doing something menacing like trying to shoot them!

I had to explain to the teacher that (a) he has no idea what a gun is and (b) he doesn’t watch inappropriate television. I know it was all innocent, but how did these other 4 and 5 year olds know about guns and shooting and killing people? Obviously they have seen it somewhere.

After I spoke to SC, we now have a mantra before we go into school each day that he mustn’t do Tree-Fu magic, make noise or move his arms around!

He also doesn’t watch inappropriate films. Disney’s about as far as it goes in this house.

As parents we, no one else, we are responsible for what we let out children watch. Surely, if we think it something is not suitable, they do not watch it. It cares not one iota if little Jimmy in the playground watches it.

I have seen children playing who have been allowed to watch inappropriate television/films. It seems, especially boys, to make them more destructive in their play! I remember a little boy the same age as SC who had watched Spiderman, Batman, all the latest, and then watched as he took a toy and then wreaked havoc as all other children were playing, by violently hitting their toys, knocking down stuff with no care or regard for anyone else.

I know all little boys love action heroes, etc. But if you look at things, the Batman TV series of the sixties was innocent compared to the mindless violence that Hollywood shove down our throats in the latest Batman movie.

And that’s the whole point. Innocence. Life, to some degree was more innocent two or three generations ago. You only have to look at the films, TV series, lyrics to songs and pop stars. There were no (at least very few) children getting pregnant at 11. Cheesy pop the 80s may have had but you can still remember the lyrics to Karma Chameleon I’ll bet? Gyrating pelvises and scantily clad females were not shoved down your throat (for want of a better phrase), films too were gentler.

Is it since the birth of so much advanced technology – 500 million tv channels (and still nothing decent to watch), i-pods, i-phones, internet on demand everywhere and anywhere, computer games, etc that we started heading down the slippery slope of moral decline and loss of innocence?

Next time you go to the cinema, just look at the violence that each and every film has? Is it necessary?

When was the last time you saw a computer game that didn’t involve killing everyone in sight?

Children are children.

Life is tough enough as it is without ramming thoughts of violence, death and destruction into their heads from a young age. Unless we, as parents take responsibility the world is going to keep falling into the downward spiral it seems to be in.

One last thought on how impressionable children can be:

SC was at school, one little boy said that he was going to take another little boy chop him up, put him in a hole and blow him up! This child was 5! Where on earth did he get that sort of idea from if not from watching something wholly inappropriate?

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Out of the Mouthes of Babes – Death

SC said the other day “Mummy, when you get to 100, you die! Sofia told me this, her grandad did!”

This was closely followed by “Mummy, when you are 100 and die who’s going to look after me?”

Cue, very big cuddle and answer “well, hopefully when that time comes you’ll be old enough to look after yourself!”

After a few moments silence, he said “Don’t worry mummy, I’ll get my big ladder and bring you back down from heaven!”

If only!

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The Age of Innocence

Childhood is so brief and we are supposed to look back on it with fond memories in our dotage.

So why is society intent on making our children grow up too quickly. Sex & drugs education at 5, careers advice at 7, pregnant at 9 or 10,  in AA at 12 and drug rehab at 15.

Wow! What wonderful childhood memories to look back on. Paints a scary picture though and if things carry on this will be the norm for the next generation.

So how do we stop the rot, so to speak.

Initially parents! The buck stops there.

Whether it be single parents, married (hetero or same-sex), we are responsible for our children’s upbringing. We are their role models and their guides through to adulthood.

Think back to your childhood would your parents have let you stay up ’til all hours, or watch inappropriate films/television. If the answer is no, then ask yourself why it is now appropriate to let your children do this.

How angry would your parents have been if you hadn’t said please, or thank you? Why is it now the norm for children not to say this. ‘Thank you’ – those two little words carry such weight.

What would your parents have done if you had been rude to a teacher at school? Why do we now hear so many stories of teachers being abused by pupils, or teachers disciplining children only to have the parents turn on the teacher instead of backing them up?

So parents (and I do appreciate it’s not everyone) take responsiblity for your children. It is not the school’s fault if they don’t teach your children discipline and manners – it’s yours. It’s not society’s fault that your children don’t know right from wrong – it’s yours. It’s not the computer games company’s fault that they sell inappropriate games – it’s yours for buying it.

It’s up to us to instill a sense of decency into the next generation and the only people who can do that for our children is us as parents.

The next on the list is the media.

Children’s programmes and there are a lot of good ones out there, but they should be appropriate.

There are far too many where, again children never say please or thank you and are shown to be self-centred.

Do we need cartoons where the ‘bad guy’ is drawn in an unpleasant way – the character comes from the voice. Bullying starts because people are different – if young children are exposed to bad guys being different then they will assume all people who look different are bad. That might not make sense to you as an adult, but think about it with child logic!

Sketch shows should have age appropriate humour. Slapstick is great but it is not suitable for a show aimed at preschoolers/infants to show someone failing to get into a cannon (with the intent of being fired out) and then having the cannon explode on his face!

After children’s programmes come adverts – yes Milkshake! I’m talking about you. How suitable is it to show trailers for 12+ movies during a break when it is obvious that preschoolers will be watching – ditto 18+ computer games.

Adverts should, again be age appropriate – and gosh, can’t you tell Christmas is upon us. How lovely it was to have a few adverts before September (again totally irrelevant to children’s programmes – life insurance, washing machines, etc) between programmes, whereas now each programme is separated by a good 5 minutes of adverts. But I digress…

I think the worst  advert for a toy I have seen, again on Channel 5, during Milkshake, is something called a blade spinner. Now I’m not blaming the television company for this one but the toy manufacturer. How intelligent is it in this day and age when teenagers are being knifed left, right and centre to produce a toy called “blade spinner” where the object, a car, is aimed towards this monster who has “knife-like” claws and spins around trying to whack the car out-of-the-way. I’m sorry, I just find it irresponsible.

Finally on adverts – Lalli-Kalli. Love the shoes, but is it really necessary to give away free make-up to 5 year olds!

Let’s grow up a  bit and leave pre-school behind. Teenagers – bless ’em. We were all one once, but were we really that scary that when an older person came across a group of us they crossed the street?

Note to teenagers – being a celebrity is not a career option!

Why do so many teenagers go out and get drunk? Because it’s cool? Because there’s nothing else to do?

I think it’s partly to look cool – but believe me there is nothing cool about being so drunk you end up either in casualty having your stomach pumped, or you spend several hours staring down a toilet bowl!

Would I be right in assuming boredom plays a big part?

If it’s boredom, as the old saying goes “go out and find something less boring to do instead”.

OK, so I know youth clubs and scouting are not perceived as “cool” any more – so make it, or anything else cool. Channel your bored energy and find a ‘hobby’ – who knows it could turn into a job??

Talking of jobs and teenagers – soap producers take note – why do no teenage soap characters on British television ever seem to have any career ambition. They all seem to drop out, or leave school at 16 with no idea what to do and so they drift.

So I say to everyone – parents, media and society – STOP! THINK! And let our children enjoy being children for as long as possible

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Out of the Mouths of Babes – Size

I was in the supermarket yesterday with SC, when we passed a man who was a little bit on the large side.

SC turned to me and said “Mummy, that man looks like he’s going to have a baby!”

Oh, what sweet musings the innocents come out with and how quickly did we move up that shopping aisle! 😉

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