Rosie was a cultural icon that represented the woman entering into the workplace to support the war efforts in World War Two. It was a symbol of a time when we clearly understood the enemy. As a country, we pulled together.
Now the feelings of solidarity are replaced by division, fear and hate. The truth is that American children live in more fear. They are more likely to be shot at school, a place where they attend everyday. According to the Washington Post, “beginning with Columbine in 1999, more than 187,000 students attending at least 193 primary or secondary schools have experienced a shooting on campus during school hours, according to a year-long Washington Post analysis. This means that the number of children who have been shaken by gunfire in the places they go to learn exceeds the population of Eugene, Ore., or Fort Lauderdale, Fla.” While this statistic is extremely high, it doesn’t take into account the events where there was a threat, but not an actual shooter. In the small area of Wisconsin, where I work, officials postponed a graduation ceremony in Sparta and many students stayed home from another small school district when a student threatened others with a knife. So the number of children who live in fear while at school is even higher. During World War II, the risk to families was high, many children lost loved ones, but the number of actual bullets flying near them was small for children under the age of 15. There was a clear enemy, a reason for the sacrifices that families made. Now, children die for no reason, there is no meaning to the death that affects so many families.
If the threat of being shot isn’t bad enough, hunger plagues many children as well. I In a land of plenty, many children are food insecure. According to the website, No Kid Hungry, “more than 13 million children in the United States live in “food insecure” homes. That phrase may sound mild, but it means that those families don’t regularly have enough food to eat.” There are a plethora of conditions that hunger exacerbates including, behavioral issues, and oddly enough, obesity. A quick trip through a grocery store helps to explain this phenomenon. We discussed this in length in our blog post about nutrition.
Some people want to blame the younger generation. Participation medals, bike helmets and helicopter parents coddle children making them weak. But the truth is that our inability to work together, to come together for our children is spreading an epidemic of anxiety and other mental health issues. Our society is responsible for the feelings of despair, not children. Now is the time for change. The reason is clear. We need to help our children feel safe.