I spent most of my childhood living in fear of the Cold War, as did most people over forty years old. Our movies, our comics, our songs, even our cartoons dealt with nuclear fallout on a regular basis. It was a part of our existence, and it terrified me. I felt certain that the world would end in ash. That was pretty heavy stuff for a kid under ten years old.
I remember once hearing about a prediction by Nostradamus that the world would be destroyed by a man in a turban. I now have no idea as to the validity of that prediction, but during my childhood I kept a ready lookout in the news or on magazine covers for anyone wearing a turban that looked like they were up to no good. Any desert conflict had me on red alert.
The Cold War ended as I entered high school, and my fear of global nuclear annihilation gradually subsided. Of course, with the original invasion of Iraq, I wondered if the draft could be reinstated, but it didn’t keep me up at night like that mushroom cloud did during my elementary years. I had other things preoccupying my mind at that point–selfish things. I had become the center of my own universe.
I am now forty years old with two children of my own, both under ten. We literally do not have the news playing while they are awake. We read the news online, I listen to the news when I’m alone in my car, but if they are around, the news is turned off. I cannot shelter them from the world forever, but I will for as long as possible. We give them the highlights so they stay informed and can discuss things at school, but we filter it … a lot.
This has always been the case, but more so than ever these last few months.
Yesterday the most powerful man in the world with the greatest nuclear capabilities in the world threatened to use his “button” to unleash nuclear hell. He did not do this in a radio address, nor did he do it during a press conference. He did it on Twitter. Just a few taps on his phone and it’s done. It’s that easy to end the world now. (I’m sure some of you think this is an exaggeration. I hope you’re right.)
I’m not going to get into the politics of this man. If you agree with me, we agree. If you disagree with me, then we disagree. I learned a long time ago not to get into debates regarding this person. No one is changing anyone’s mind.
However, if you have children, I hope you’ll join me in thinking about the fallout regarding this person. He threatens, he bullies, he taunts, he belittles–and he does most of it online. He basically does every single thing on social media that we teach our children not to do.
Furthermore, if your children are paying extra close attention, he regularly fans the flame of war, especially with one leader in particular. How is this influencing our children? Are they living in fear as quite a few of us did? Will these lessons from our president churn out a generation who follow his example, or will they learn to rise above his volatile nature and demand better from our leaders?
I don’t know any better than you do, but I do know one thing–they are watching. The children always look to us for guidance, whether they explicitly say it or not. There will be a fallout one way or another.