2020 The Year of Lost Innocence

My boys are 13 and 11 Years young. They are far from babies. They have seen ugly things, heard vulgar words and have experienced adult-like events. They are smart, kind, friendly, polite and they know right from wrong...because we have taught them so.

But, before this year, they still believed in magic and miracles. They still saw every person as a person, not as a color, gender or religion. They still believed parents and police officers were the safe adults. They still knew right from wrong. Before 2020, my boys weren’t completely tainted by the actions of people, by the media and internet.

Their entire lives have been turned upside down. They were ripped from their sports and their school. They were warned not to get within 6 feet of people. If they want to go out, they are told to wear masks. They weren’t able to see family or friends for 12 weeks. The constant corona virus chatter was everywhere; on the TV, the radio and the computer. Life felt more like being in a scary movie.

Prior to this pandemic, we endured the loss of a boy from our town. A sweet boy who was grossly abused and is suspected of being killed by his own father. This was a tragedy that rocked our community, a horrific event that had grown men crying in the streets and moms clinging tightly to their babies. This was something we had to explain to our kids, a disturbing story that even adults cannot fathom. This was the beginning of the end of their innocence.

From our health practices, to implementing something we call “social distancing”; from the context of dialogue at school, to the constant talk of politics; the destruction and removal of our history; the Aunt Jemima debacle; explaining the difference between protesting and rioting, and why that is ok, but playing sports with their friends is NOT ok; and all the new questions about right and wrong...everything is different. Yet, what’s right is still right and what’s wrong is still wrong so why are we questioning that?

We all have our suspicions, our beliefs and opinions of why there is currently such turmoil. Some doctors will tell you one thing and some will tell you another. Some politicians will claim one thing while others claim another. Some news stations report some news and other stations report something contradictory.

But no matter what opinion you have, no matter what you see or hear, right is still right and wrong is still wrong. And I have been teaching, showing, demonstrating right from wrong since my children were born. I will continue to tell them that kindness is essential. I will continue to be against unnecessary violence. I will continue to be for helping others. I will continue to tell them that destruction of other peoples property or public is it wrong. I will continue to show my children my patriotism, love for my armed forces, veterans and law enforcement. I will continue to have hard conversations with them, about how bad people exist, but I refuse to allow my children to judge a person on his race, gender, religion or occupation. I will teach them about hypocrisy and corruption. And, I will continue to share miracles and magic with them, even if it falls on deaf ears and blind eyes.

I will continue to do my best every day to be better. This year has taken the innocence of my children, but that doesn’t mean it’s changed how we act, speak and live.

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