As a winter full of bleak, colorless days gives way to the mild and sunny days of a Missouri spring, it seems as though all of Columbia comes to life. Now is the time to stow away those bulky winter jackets for another year, and skirts and dresses make their way out of the closet once again. Gone are the days of crouching over a space heater with a blanket wrapped tightly around the shoulders, and thermostats can finally take a break as pleasant weather rolls in.
It was on one of these pleasant days that I decided to spend some time at the park and cherish the early spring breeze before Missouri’s bipolar weather decided to change again. As I sat on the swing and lightly kicked at the wood chips around my feet, my attention fell upon all the small children who were enjoying the fine day as well. A little girl with perfect blonde curls slid down the slide, while another pair of children played hide-and-seek amongst the park equipment.
The entire scene before me was peaceful and happy. And I realized the reason for the carefree ambiance was the children themselves and the innocence they take with them everywhere they go.
Childhood is a time of peace and tranquility. It’s a time when school doesn’t stress you out; it’s a time when nobody breaks your heart. Children don’t have to worry about keeping up with classes, and they don’t have to constantly fret about balancing a job and schoolwork along with personal issues. Childhood is an innocent time, when the world seems like a beautiful place, free of corruption, lying and cheating.
The small children who toddled their way around the park on that warm afternoon made me realize how my fast-paced life prevented me from ever appreciating the innocence of these children. It’s clearly something we all take for granted. In a world that is overflowing with crime and corruption, naivete is something we all need to cherish.
It’s hard to believe, but children themselves provide a sense of innocence to the world, everywhere they go. And it’s this innocence that no one seems to appreciate until it’s gone. When 20 sweet children were violently killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in December, the public’s reaction seemed more intense as compared to previous mass shootings. Reporters wept on live television, and our own President shed a few tears in front of the entire country. This was all because 20 children were killed. Innocent kids, who probably had no idea what happened to them. It was then that people around the world stopped to appreciate these innocent children.
Even though the children who are playing at the park today will soon grow up and realize that the world is a bad place, filled with bad people, and become as cynical as the generations before them, there will always be more kids to take their place. And no matter how old we are, we should always stop and appreciate them.
By Afsah Khan