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Are our children being robbed?

I’ve heard more than a few people using the term “robbed” regarding children during this pandemic. Though mine may not be a popular opinion, I have to disagree that my child is being robbed of anything.

Nothing has been stolen from children, though everything has changed. To me, hearing the term conjures up memories of a sore loser at a sporting match. (Remember championship matches? Those were the days.) We’ve all been at one when the losing team blames the referee or pins the defeat on the shoulders of one teammate. 

Drawing the correlation between a robbery, mugging or burglary to the loss of in-school instruction, sports, championships, events and business openings is too extreme. 

My child is missing traditions but not being robbed. She is missing in-class instruction, recitals, concerts, championships and a sense of community in a time when a world swirls with the ramification of a disease. A robbery generally targets the few. She and every person still have the right to be frustrated, sad, angry or upset. 

I asked my daughter about using the word “robbed.” She felt it’s too severe. The term places blame on circumstances beyond anyone’s control. The word creates victims without providing solutions. She looks at her senior year as altered opportunities. It isn’t the senior year she anticipated. There are things she looked forward to doing. Being robbed takes control out of her hands and feeds into a feeling of helplessness. No one should be promoting helplessness without offering help. 

There are chances to make sure that helplessness doesn’t manifest into something more severe for the young. Children in every grade are facing changes and altered rituals. Caregivers are brainstorming to create new traditions. Teachers are reinventing ways to showcase their students. My senior is working with other class officers to make her year special. Is it possible to use this time to empower our children? Could we ask them for suggestions to create traditions unique to their circumstances? I believe children hold the answers if we listen.

A special thanks to the Saranac Lake High School teachers, administrators and local businesses for creating and hanging posters of each high school senior. It’s been an excellent diversion to see the faces of the Class of 2021 and ponder each bright future.

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