What are we doing to our children?

Posted July 31st, 2008 in Blog 1 Comment »

Fostering Ecological Hope
Today from Margaret Swedish:

for-the-children.pngIf we could see the crisis time from the perspective of the children, would that change things? If we project current trends into the next few decades, say to mid-century when there will be 2-3 billion more of us on an already over-stressed planet, you know, when our small children will be middle age, what will life conditions be like for them, and then for their children?

What are we doing to our children, to their hopes and dreams, their voices, as they try to speak to us of the future?

Well, we are feeding them fat/fast foods, we are making them obese, and we are putting them on prescriptions drugs by the millions and millions. We are jeopardizing their health because we have no time or patience to ensure healthy living, and we are numbing all their fears and anxieties so that these symptoms will not make us look at ourselves and the society we have created that is doing them so much emotional and spiritual harm.

Two news articles this week made me really depressed about our youth. One, Weight Drives the Young to Adult Pills, was in the NY Times. It’s about how we are treating the problem of childhood obesity, fast becoming the number one health threat for the young, by putting them on statins. Adult drugs in children as young as 8.

Because we don’t know how to give them a healthy cooked meal, we don’t know how to say no to their fast food and soda pop cravings, and we don’t know how to get them exercising, actually using their little bodies to do what comes naturally to them — play hard. We don’t have time for it and we are ourselves victims — have let ourselves become victims — to the fast-paced, packaged foods, fast food, convenience foods, frenetic over-stressed, unhappy lifestyles that gave birth to this epidemic.

Within the next few years, the U.S. will be able to claim 25 percent of its population with type 2 diabetes.

This is a sign of a society in demise if ever I saw one.

Here is the other story, this one from AP printed in my local paper. It was regarding a debate going on in medical circles about whether kids on drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (the notorious ADHD) should be screened for heart problems.

What? We’ve got millions of children who in this generation have somehow managed to get this diagnosis, and we have put them on drugs that compromise their heart health — higher blood pressure and heart rate?!

How did we manage to come up with all these kids with such problems — 4 million diagnosed with ADHD, more than half of whom take stimulant drugs like Ritalin that may negatively affect their hearts

On these drugs for years. Statins, ADHD drugs, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs — for years — children, teenagers, whose brains are still developing, whose hearts, lungs, muscles, bones, are still developing.

What a grand experiment! And yet, where is the society’s confrontation with itself, the moment when collectively we say to ourselves, “My God, what in hell are we doing? What have we done? What kind of world have we made for our kids?”

Are we listening to these most precious canaries in the mine shaft ——

telling us that our world has gone toxic and we need to get out of the mine — fast!

LISTEN to our children! Listen to their stresses, their overweight, out-of-shape bodies, their plea for relief from anxiety and pain! These are not the personal failings of individuals and families, who then absorb such guilt and shame and embarrassment into themselves. This is a society-wide mental illness and is reflection of a very, very unhealthy way of life.

We are biological beings as much as the birds, the animals, the forests. If these creatures tell us our Earth is in trouble, so do our own biological beings. If we want to relieve the stresses on the birds, the animals and the forests, and if we critique our society for polluting and overdeveloping and abusing our natural habitats — well, how about our children, our teenagers?

If we can reflect on what it would mean to love the ocean and the rivers, what would it mean, in this context, to love our children?

They manifest that we have already made a mess of our biological home; they show as that we have already arrived at the point of crisis.

What will we do? Out of love, out of love for them, what will we do?


One group has actually asked youth about what kind of world they would like to inherit from us. The project is sponsored by a non-profit organization, Our Task, Inc. Read The Earth We Would Like to Inherit: A Request for Intergenerational Collaboration from an International Group of Young People. Share it with the young people in your life.
[tags] children in crisis, child obesity, type 2 diabetes, unhealthy lifestyles, statins and children, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Our Task, Inc., children and antidepressants[/tags]

Photo credits:

Baby, by parent
Obese children, edited from UK’s Daily Mail


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One Response

  1. D.Bheemeswar

    It is pathetic to read some of the articles on children using drugs to control their emotional feelings, beacuae they think they are old enough as they do not get attention they desrve from their parents, who are totally busy in the rats race. They amount of crime they see in the movies and other stories on TV etc and also from antisocials of the society the young children prone to all sorts of abusses, neither we are giving them the right atmosphere nor we are providing them ethical and moral ground on which they can build their future. Even husband and wife have their own problems in thweir married life where is the time for their kids. There is no cohesion in the family.

    I hope people realize their problems early. Except praying ti the GOD we can not do anything in these matters, as the entire society has degraded to that extent of individualism each and every body wanting their freedom, the freedom leading to disatsters after dusatsers for exinguishing thwe human kind on this earth.