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Frank1
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Where is the innocence of childhood?
Dec 11th, 2018 at 9:23pm
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I am now on my 2nd time through St. Augustine's Confessions (C.S. Lewis once said he didn't know why anyone would only read a good book once), and he confesses his sins from the earliest age, starting with his infancy (in the case of his infancy St. Augustine observes the sins of infants he comes into contact with, like their jealously at watching another infant nurse).

St. Augustine really makes the point that we are sinners from the moment of our birth.  Modern society, of course, romanticizes childhood (and there is some romance in certain aspects of childhood) and tends to speak often of the innocence of children.  If one means by innonence, merely ignorance, than children are, to a greater or lesser extent, innocent in comparison with adults.

However, if by calling children innocent one means that they do not have base motives and desires...well, that is dead wrong.

Children and even infants can be jealous, angry, conniving, lacking in self-control, extremely self-centered, etc. 

I think of some of my own sins and those of other boys I knew.  I remember one time I attempted to hit a friend of mine in the head with a brick.  For whatever reason he was really getting on my nerves, so I threw a brick at his head.  Luckily it missed.  Who knows what could have happened if I had hit him?  Yet one of my elementary school teachers told my mom that I "wouldn't hurt a fly".

I remember another time when two brothers on my block got in a fight while we were playing street hockey and the older brother really beat the crap out of his younger brother with a hockey stick (so much for the older looking out for the younger!) while a third brother ran to get their dad. 

Near our block was several acres of woods on the other side of which the highway ran.  At one point we got into the habit of hiding by the edge of the highway and then jumping up and throwing sticks at cars and trucks as they went by.  Some other boys on the street eventually got caught one night by the highway patrol so the rest of us stopped doing it.  We were certainly as far from innocent in this as one could be; I am sure we all knew inside that we could potentially cause a serious accident (as we did that time when we spilled water all over the street in the winter trying to make an ice patch for cars, or when we blocked the road with snow, or when we ringed the street signs at an intersection with caution tape, etc. etc.), but as St. Augustine says, the desire merely to sin, to behave badly, the adrenaline of the situation and a group mentality in which no one wanted to be the wimp who didn't partake, drove us on in all these circumstances.


We were lucky that we never actually hurt anyone.  A few years ago some teenage boys in my area dropped a large stone from a highway overpass.  The stone went through a car window and smashed in a woman's face.  The woman survived but was terribly disfigured and partly brain damaged.  She had to quit her work.  Worse, a few years after the accident her husband committed suicide.  As an article in the local paper said, the boys were just as responsible for the suicide of the husband as for the disfigurement of his wife.


What can I say but "There but for the Grace of God go I!"
  


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fair-minded know it all
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Re: Where is the innocence of childhood?
Reply #1 - Dec 11th, 2018 at 9:38pm
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Being a Calvinist I got no romantic notions about the "innocence" of children.  Grin
  

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Frank1
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Re: Where is the innocence of childhood?
Reply #2 - Dec 11th, 2018 at 9:46pm
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fair-minded know it all wrote on Dec 11th, 2018 at 9:38pm:
Being a Calvinist I got no romantic notions about the "innocence" of children.  Grin


I can believe that!   Wink
  


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