Thought of the Day by Maria Fokas
A Stolen Childhood
Does life repeat itself? In the news this morning, I heard that bullying is now a criminal offense, but in the States, all those years ago, it wasn’t. No one likes talking about having been bullied. Sharing moments of being degraded is seldom comforting. Maybe it’s difficult to talk about things we believe we have no control over. Hearing the news brought back a memory; not as cruel in comparison to many stories out there, but to a nine-year old, there is no such thing as a comparison to a worse story.
My story has to do with a clan of three, and stones. For a long time, walking home from school was terrifying. When those stones hit my body, it would feel like bee-stings; I even pretended that they were – but what stung the most was their mocking giggles. They wanted me to cry, but I never gave them that. So many times, I wanted to turn around and face them, to ask them why, but I never did. And when I’d arrive home, my mother would always ask me the same question, and my reply would always be, “Fine” – And on random days, I wondered; which part was my fault.
Most people describe their childhood as the golden years. Does such a time exist? For me, it was a time I wanted to escape from; and although I went on to Junior-high, to become an all-star athlete, those detrimental moments built walls which never came down.
To a child, the first years of their life seems to drag on forever; We cannot assume that they’ll eventually ask for help. Children are not a miniature version of us; they live in a different world, which they eventually grow out of. And if you believe that their future is essentially determined by the University they’re accepted into, I beg to differ.
Catalytic moments: Go back; a child is creating sentences to discover meanings in an overwhelming world. Go back; a child can only feel their worth by looking into the eyes of others. Go back; your child cannot find the words to tell you that they are ashamed.
So it’s not when they’re choosing the majors of their University degrees which determines their future; it’s when you’re holding their hand as they’re struggling to belong to a world they don’t understand.
– Life doesn’t have to repeat the parts that are broken.