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Growing Up and Knowing the World

Do you wish you were a kid again? Not a terribly uncommon thing to hear an adult say, especially when under pressure.

Being a child again is desirable because of the innocence, and the bliss of ignorance. At least this seems to be the consensus in my experience.

I remember being a child as a difficult and frustrating experience that was actually truly amazing. The tragedy is I did not have the frame of reference to realize how or why. It was difficult because everything required permission, supervision, or asking for assistance. You aren’t allowed to know things, real life is censored to a degree, and sometimes you are brushed aside or ushered out of a conversation. You may have been protected from some unsavory truth, but I bet it didn’t feel like it. It probably felt like you didn’t deserve to know. I believe we can all relate to the sentiment of wanting what we can’t have.

When you first “grow up” and are new to the world, anything seems possible. After some time, longer for some than others, you realize there is more pain and suffering than you had ever imagined.

Reading about events like Pear Harbor, even though they were not terribly long ago, seem so far in the past that the likelihood of a comparable event happening now is just out of the question. Then, something like 9/11 happens, and you are forced to define your convictions.

Childhood seems desirable to me because everything seemed brighter and happier, like you would grow up and every day would be filled with ice cream playing with your friends. No more mom and dad to tell you to go to sleep or keep it down.

When you realize that there is great sadness and pain in the world, it’s almost like you have learned this isn’t such a happy place after all. I’ve come across many people who have renounced a belief in God due to the presence of suffering. I’ve known people who were the happiest kids and became the cynical adult.

When suffering does occur, it draws a line in the sand. It gives you clarify and forces you to reprioritize your beliefs. If every day was met with no pain or challenges, then the purpose of your existence would be much more shallow. If you are not changing and growing, if you are not learning to love more every day, then what is the point of life?

When a major tragedy happens, people are shaken, uprooted, and forced to consider where they stand, what they want to protect, and what lengths they are willing to go to do so. These are pillars of love and self sacrifice, which give our lives meaning and purpose.

There is suffering, but in a profound way, it is necessary for us to not become complacent about our existence.

I would like to expand on my last sentence with an example:

There is a debate surrounding the capability of women to terminate their pregnancies based on the likelihood of a certain quality of life the child may or may not have. There are various birth control methods that people use to manage having children the same way that they manage their finances. I challenge any and all readers to tell me that any parent of a disabled child, worn they may be, loves them to death and would do anything for them. That parent does not have the same sense of despair as someone who questions their purpose on earth.

Be safe and kind.

About Ian Eshelman

Profile photo of Ian Eshelman
Ian is a scholar who has studied the fields of music theory, classical piano, rhetoric, art history, and aesthetics, He also writes and paints. Originally from Washington DC, he currently works in finance in Dallas, TX, USA.

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