Time traveling with you last week took us back into the dark ages where children were property, and their deaths went unnoticed. One tragic reason I failed to mention was the fact that so many young women also died with them in childbirth. Or that other medical complications, or illnesses they couldn’t understand would claim that same child within its first few years. There was a good reason why parents couldn’t be too emotionally invested in their kids; there was a good chance they would be gone.
Today it’s different. We can time travel to periods where we see children granted a bit more respect, but treated horribly. The dawn of the industrial revolution is a great example. Charles Dickens did a great job of depicting the hell on earth those children suffered through. But what sort of emotional scars did those experiences leave?
We can only guess. Jumping back to our own time, we now understand the importance of a good childhood upon adult behavior. Abuse in its most gross form isn’t tolerated in our society, but back then it was probably tolerated. But how many children today are being abused, physically, without recourse? without support? and without hope of rescue? We don’t know. We only know such things still occur because some of the victims eventually build up the courage to step forward.
Our time machine tells us that, someday, we will be protecting our children even more so than today. In that sense we are going in the right direction. But when will that happen?