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  • The older I get, the more I recognize the fortune that was my childhood. With my sisters and brother, I was able to traipse through the great woods of northern Michigan. We built forts, caught snakes, climbed trees, and played in the mud. We shot arrows from re-curve bows and hunted cowbirds with our BB guns. We chased one another, hid under beds, and giggled and screamed from being tickled too much. We stayed up late to watch the Sunday night Disney movie.

    We didn't have a lot of money. Our parents' marriage did not last. We lost a stepdad to cancer. We moved and changed schools. There were hard times.

    However, we were loved, we were encouraged, we were inspired. It's not money or material possessions that create a childhood. Rather, it is the time spent and memories built during that wispy period of freedom that is childhood. I fear that childhood, as our culture used to know it, is lost and long gone.

    As I reflect on this photo of three of us sitting amongst the red pine needles and sunlight (and yes, it is my baby brother that is wearing the bonnet), I am saddened that the students in my classrooms do not know what childhood could be, should be. Instead they know 911 calls, hunger, fear, "family" that is not family, homelessness, job loss, and revolving doors to houses, schools, and hearts that don't stick around.

    Yes, the older I become, the more I feel my childhood was that of the privileged sort. And the more my heart aches for the Lost Childhoods that wander aimlessly down the halls of my school.
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