Editor’s note: This letter is from Kathy Wagner, a resident of Sandgate.
As the holidays approach I often find myself remembering the many happy Christmases of my youth. They were celebratory, innocent and happy-go-lucky times — easier, simpler times. At present I would not want to be a child growing up in an environment with the multiple pressures and complex issues our children and youth are confronted with too early in life. I think we can all agree that parents and teachers have the greatest responsibility to raise, teach and guide children in a safe and healthy environment, both physical and mental. The subjects they study should remain true to factual information, perhaps discussing differing opinions on that subject, but not shaded by a single biased opinion or prejudice. Children must learn to absorb the good and bad in history and life, but must be given the proper tools to formulate their own opinions on the issues.
When children are in grade school their minds are like sponges. What we witness today is a concerted effort to fill those sponges with political correctness, climate catastrophe, alternative life styles and gender identity. (By the way, how many “genders” are we up to today?) All of these topics are complex and need fully developed brains to separate the real from the imagined or off-the-wall interpretations. Young children are not yet capable to decipher all sides of these issues, and in my opinion, those ladening their small shoulders with adult issues are committing child abuse. Think about it: Facing all the aforementioned issues at such a young age, no wonder children suffer anxiety and depression, feeling confused, lost, stressed out, hopeless and fearful of the future! What percentage of youth are on an antidepressants? Six out of 10? Maybe more? This is crazy! I’ve read that a side-effect of antidepressants can be aggression. Gosh, we don’t see much of that, do we? There’s bullying, brawling, loud and hateful voices, knife attacks and shootings — we need to stop this!
Technology is great, but it also brings consequences. How about people, especially children, putting down the gadgets and getting some healthy exercise and play time? (Hand exercise by incessant texting does not qualify.) Go walk or jog around the track or park, ride a bike, go to the gym, participate in sports, get involved in music or art classes, join the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts — give your mind a break from the insanity of the airwaves.
I’m not quite sure when the boom of transgenders suddenly jumped to the forefront, but children may sometimes be confused about their sexual identity. I’m certainly no expert and perhaps this is a normal phase many children go through. I think they should receive counseling and “talk it out” with a professional, not consult their friends who may convince them that it is “cool” to be a transgender. To be allowed to get hormone therapy and other treatments to change their sex, even without parental permission, when they are still developing physically and mentally, is to me not advisable. Once they mature and are a young adult, and if they still have these feelings, then fine, let them pay for surgery or whatever is needed for a life-changing procedure.
I must add one personal comment about the transgender issue. Parents who have daughters that compete in sports and seek scholarships to colleges and universities, and who must compete against a biological male who identifies as a female, should be screaming from the rooftops about the unfairness of this. Males can undergo hormone therapy, but the strong musculature is still there and will 99 percent of the time dominate a biological female. I’m thinking primarily of track and field events but also many other sports. I was an alternate on two Olympic Taekwondo teams, and if I had had to compete in my weight category against a biological male (who claimed to be female), I’d have been creamed. I’m sure I never would have achieved my goals. Fairness would be to create a sports federation for transgenders and have them compete against other transgenders. They shouldn’t be allowed to ruin the hopes and aspirations of the biological females.
In closing, as Christmas and the New Year approach, let’s let our kids be kids and allow them their innocence. Childhood should be a carefree time. Obviously, that is not possible in all circumstances, but we should make the effort as adults to protect, support and encourage our children so they will be equipped to deal with the hurdles they will face soon enough.
Sandgate, Bennington County