Friday, November 16, 2007

Who Took My Rose Colored Glasses?

Scarlett took the whole Halloween UNICEF job seriously—she didn’t just fill up that bright orange box, she went on-line to learn more. I’m sorry but next time I’d rather she stumble across a porn site. Way easier damage control: “Uh, some people just like to exercise naked?”

The day she clicked must've been particularly dark because the home page offered up rape, child abduction, HIV-Aids, death by homelessness, starvation or measles. Quick, click on ‘Voices of Youth,’ and you’re steered from despair toward cheerful primary-colored pages meant for the younger set. Whew, finally—blogs from HIV positive 15-year olds and fun links like What Would You Do, an “interactive game that explores real life situations with regards to HIV/AIDS.”

Okay, okay—this is clearly meant for teens, but if I’m scraping my fourth-grader off the floor, you know others are too. After all, UNICEF deploys millions of elementary school children as fundraisers every October 31. You can bet more than one went to the web site (and yes, with parental permission).

For those of us lucky to have enough, how much, how soon and to what degree do we let our well-cared for little ones know about the cruelties of the planet? Don’t get me wrong (I stand so far to the left that my heart actually does bleed) I strongly believe that it’s imperative we raise a generation that cares more about peace and social justice than stock portfolios. But if I’m still lying about the tooth fairy and Santa, can’t I lie about the state of childhood, globally, just for a little longer?

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