“But if you give them a hard time, bullying or taking advantage of their simple trust, you’ll soon wish you hadn’t. You’d be better off dropped in the middle of the lake with a millstone around your neck. Doom to the world for giving these God-believing children a hard time! Hard times are inevitable, but you don’t have to make it worse—and it’s doomsday to you if you do.
Matthew 18:6-7 (MSG)
Much psychological research on children finds that a child’s developmental process is accelerating due to possible stressors that are put on the child by their parents and society. This is leading to an early onset of puberty, which cuts into the amount a time that a child remains in a childhood state.
If you look at the realities of how children are being made to think and become little adults by parents, and educational institutions forcing children to shift from imaginative play to focus on competitive academic progress, it is not hard to see how that level of stress is accelerating puberty and ripping children’s childhood away from them.
When it comes to those who are not born into privilege, their childhoods are spent in poverty-stricken homes whose environmental and emotional stressors, undoubtedly shape the development of that child, creating unnecessary stressors as instability and at times hunger, become the norm in their lives.
Our recent immigration policies, which has resulted in children becoming separated from their families or caretakers, or by mass deportation raids while they are at school learning, are also sure to have lasting emotional and psychological impacts on children who will no longer have the ability to enjoy a childhood that is safe and filled with imaginative time and play. For many have been left orphaned, by the hands of a state that claims to follow biblical laws.
All of these factors serve to complicate the formative years of a child, turning our societies into the very stumbling blocks that Jesus warns us about in the Gospels — stumbling blocks that take the shape of societal failures to protect children and ensure that they have the necessary access to resources, healthy food, education, stable housing, and to an environment that allows for and encourages imaginative play and fun.
Lack of these basic needs, in many ways, serves to continue a cycle of generational sins that continues to keep minorities and poor white families in systemic poverty, which give way to and expose children to destructive behaviors and realities from adults and the system that failed them as well. A system that has led to; education cuts and school closings, elimination of arts and music programs, the school to prison pipeline for minorities, a higher education price bubble, cuts or elimination of free or reduced meals in public schools, a flood of gun violence-related deaths, broken family homes and overly worked or depressed parental figures, and the creation of for-profit schools and higher education institutions with Taxpayer money.