When innocence is lost, hope will soon follow.

If they could only stay this way….

When did they grow up?  When did we lose control of the way that they grow up?  When did we first lose them? My thoughts today focus on hope and where we must go to find it again.

I have read thousands of articles about the human condition and the process of growing from an infant into a strong adult, how we can develop character in all kids. In education we all sit in workshop after workshop and we learn just a few tricks that will help us in our struggles to make sure the kids turn out as perfect new members of society. While we sit in the nive well lit meeting rooms we forget for a moment that some of our students don’t have heat or electricity or food.  We want to give them character but they want us to give them so much more.

So now, where I work and with the kids that I work with, I feel as frustrated as ever because the one thing that I want to give them, I cannot give them. The one thing that they need more than an education and knowledge; I cannot give it to them. The thing that they are thirsting and desperate to experience is hope.  Yes, I can hear my friends saying that education equals hope and if the kid believes in it, if they have enough self-confidence and inner strength then they will be able to make the leap and allow their education to be the bridge to hope.

If they live in a city where their friends are shot and killed almost daily. If they live in a city where the sirens wail day and night as a constant reminder that somewhere there is another family who has lost a son or daughter or mother or father, how can they tune it out to listen for the sounds of hope?  Some of them I have loved as if they were my own and watched as they grew from kids who could smile and had a yearning to experience more than what they were seeing.  Now many can only stare blankly because they can’t hear or feel the hope any longer.

One of my favorite movies is the Polar Express because the symbolism is meant to remind us of the importance of faith and believing.  The adults who do not believe in Santa cannot hear the bell ring. If they would only believe, we are told then the bell could ring forever. I watch year after year as these kids can no longer hear the message of hope and opportunity. They simply can no longer believe.

I want to find those who have stolen their innocence and shake them and ask them what they were thinking?  How could we let those innocent little kids who thought the world could be theirs and they could be or do anything that they set their mind too turn into adults who feel like they cannot do or be anything?

There is a break in the chain somewhere and as a society we need to find it.  We cannot be innocent and naïve forever, but the human spirit can only survive so much before it stops believing.  Live in a dark room for long enough and eventually you will forget there is a sun.

#Hope for the Hopeless

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