July 26, 2010
Growing up in a little suburban town fifteen minutes south of Portland, we as children did not have the same technology in the nineteen seventies that our children have today. We did not entertain ourselves with three dimensional video games, hand held computerized games or even cartoon characters that simulated personal exercise. To our complete intelligence, we had dirt clod fights; and we liked it! Why did we have dirt clod fights? because we had the open fields to do so. Not smart, but we did it anyway.
Every Sunday from early fall season to the cold bitter chill of winter warmth, was occupied with one thing and one thing only: football! The local kids had their favorite open green fields marketed out and ready for battle (As much as a seven year old could battle).
There was the ever popular field just on the outskirts of the haunted four acre forest. We believed that if you could ride your bike through the tree like maze without being taken by evil spirits, you were blessed.
We also had the yearly plowed dirt field that was top choice only when it rained. Due to our wet Oregon winters, one can imagine how often we played there. It was hard to immolate our favorite professional football stars when we could not stand upright for any long period of time. It always seemed that no matter what shoes we wore for traction, the six inch deep molasses mud pie always won the fight. On those unfortunate days that got in the way of Saturday and Sundays (Like school days) we played in the street. We played from lamp post to lamp post, curb to curb; everything was fair game.
I was also lucky enough to grow up on a magically road. Magical in the way that when early spring came around, that same lamp posts to lamp post, curb to curb football field, could turn into a massive roaring baseball stadium over night. None of our “stuffy old parents” could see it, but we could see it. Just like Santa Clause, he is present if you believe him to be.
The once haunted forest is now an over built industrial area accompanied by hundreds of personalized apartments; I guess it was not haunted after all.
The open green fields we grew up in are now claimed by our juvenile justice system. The same spot we used to draw up football plays in the dirt is now being used to draw up plans to decide whether a child is going back the parents, foster care or jail.
The same place that used to house our famous “Mud bowl” game is now home to the Oregon state health building. To qualify for assistance, one must be at poverty level for government help. Here you can apply for food stamps, well fair, medical needs, and classes that facilitate better parenting skills.
Our Roaring baseball stadiums and lamp post to lamp post football fields gave way to the nonstop assembly line of motorized vehicles. The things we cherished as kids have turned into systems we literally pay for as adults.
Knowing full well that there are plenty of downfalls when it comes to our over populated land, I will focus my energy on the negative affect this worldly issue has on our most prized possession; our children.
This week I started my volunteer work; geared towards foster children that have been taken out of their homes and either placed with strangers or other family relatives. After thirty hours of class study, it became very apparent that one of the main issues surrounding neglected or abused youth is one of stress. I do not believe it is a coincidence that when our economy falls, the number of foster children rises.
Many of the foster cases I have read belonged to cultures that do not believe in birth control. Some stemmed from personal religious reasons and others from being uneducated on the matter.
Let’s say you have three to five children with one parent bringing in an income. Throw on top of that an economy that is not stable and you have the makings of something disastrous.
You might have both parents working to eliminate some of the stress over money, but then you have to turn around and pay for day care for those same three to five kids; on some salaries that can be the whole paycheck.
Suppose that same parent who had the solid employment loses their job. What do you do? the answer is easy: get a new one. When an individual has to go up against hundreds of other un-employed individuals for the same position, easy is out the window. This is where stress comes into play. This is where the opportunity for neglect and abuse can happen. This is where over population rears its ugly head.
Our population issues are a prime example of the importants of a bio-diversified society.
When one thing is taken out of the equation of human survival, there can be a massive ripple effect that can be felt for generations to come. The one thing that has been removed from our own culture is balance; the balance between birth to death ratio ( ). For every three children born, one person dies. As you can see, there is no balance on any level.
The easy thing is report on the population over growth. The more difficult task is to come up with solid ideas on how to make a difference in the scenario.
Education: Whether or not, we as a culture, a society, or even a village, believe in educating our young on the responsibility of sexual activity; doing nothing should never be an option. We should be implementing education on birth control in our middle schools. We should make it a mandatory class for each male and female to participate in the “take a baby home” program. This is a class where the student is sent home with a baby type doll that reacts like a real baby would react. This child must be held, fed, nurtured, and most importantly, it will cry at any given time. At the end of the day, the plastic baby doll is plugged into a computer. The results will be posted on how well the student did; how quickly was the baby nurtured after a crying spell or even if the baby was held at all. This program definitely gives an insight into the real world of having a child. Unfortunately not many males sign up for this class. That should change!
We need to educate to keep these unready mothers and fathers from over populating our child well fair system.
Religious beliefs: I understand that in some cultures it is frowned upon to use birth control. It is celebrated to have large families. In today’s age, this is a monumental problem.
The question is how can we as the United States regulate the birth rate or even our birth rights of our citizens? I do not know if we can but I believe we should try. Remember, doing nothing is not an option.
Should we go the route of China and put a limit on how many children can be conceived by a married couple or should we go one step farther have all males become sterilized after their second child is born?
On the other end of the spectrum, should we start to pull back on medical advancements that are keeping our elders growing older at a solid rate? Should the focus be on the death rate and not the birth rate? How can we get the birth to death ratio balanced again? Maybe we don’t.
These are important questions that do not important answers yet.
I know in my personal field of choice, I will be working for and with children; being an advocate in any way possible. On the other hand, maybe my goal is to be out of work. Live in a world where we do not need foster parents. Live in a world where we do not need services to protect our children from abuse and neglect. Live in a world where we teach all methods of birth control; and ultimately, live in world where our children cannot and will not be treated as after thoughts.
If we as a nation cannot control population, maybe we can all learn how to put the one thing that is most important in our lives first - our kids!