Growing up in America, it was rare to hear of the wars, both involving my own country and not, that were going on around us. Most parents tried to shelter their children from hearing such reports. Even those who did hear of the headlines never learned more than just that—the headline.
The majority of parents in America try to keep their children from news of war in order to protect their innocence for as long as possible, in hopes that their childhood will remain fun and their only worry will be what flavor juice box and poptart they’ll have when they get home from school. Now, however, as those adolescents reach adulthood, they are struck with reality. As teenagers, though historical wars are taught in schools, we have yet to experience the actual realities of war at hand. Some teenagers may have friends or relatives in war, but until they reach adulthood, it is unlikely that the concept of war will become reality for them.
Once a teen becomes an adult, war becomes a familiar topic. Whether it is considered small and unconcerning, or gruesome enough to concern the world, war is no longer an avoidable subject. Friends are now enlisted and risking their lives for our safety, in turn leaving us with the fear that they will never return.
With the most recent events of bombing in Syria, on top of the constant questions surrounding what is really going on between the United States and Korea, like most young adults, I am growing concerned. Since social media has become widespread since my parents were first becoming adults, I find it quite hard to find accurate information online to educate myself about the situations at hand. On the internet, it can be frustrating trying to find out if the information at hand is facts or just rumors.
That being said, the fear young people experience continues to grow. While I don’t feel unsafe, that ping of anxiety rings in my nerves every time the topic comes up. War is an unfamiliar topic to me, something I am still trying to figure out, as well as how to pay off my student loans and do my taxes. Why don’t they teach us this in high school? Yes, it is nice to keep us protected from fear, but one of the most crucial ways to protect us is teaching us.
As I continue to educate myself on the current events of my country and those surrounding it, I find myself wishing I could go back to those days of only worrying about what color shirt to wear for picture day. But alas, adulthood is also unavoidable. We must not spend our lives worrying about the fears of the world we live in, but instead emotionally prepare ourselves in order to live life to its fullest extent. I pray for those who serve in our armed forces and for all those who know them.
In regards to our children now, we must keep them protected but only up to a certain age. I’m thankful that I was able to enjoy my childhood, worry-free. However, I do feel that as I hit high school, I could’ve been educated more on the subject of war as a whole, as well as on any relevant current events taking place. Our education system should step up towards focusing on issues that are taking place now, instead of going into the depths of past wars.
Ultimately, young adults should not live in fear. Living in fear keeps us from achieving our greatest aspirations. We need to trust that our armed forces will protect us, and we have a responsibility to carry out our dreams as a thank you to those protecting them.
Becca Rah is 20 years old and enjoys line dancing at her local barn, choreographing and writing to her heart's content. She is majoring in communications to become a journalist. She hopes to one day start her own organization to help others see past the unthinkable.