War and Children: Does It Matter?  
by: Rakesh Budhu (rakeshb@indolink.com)

Does war actually have significance in the lives of a child?

I can distinctly remember during the Persian-Gulf War where my apprehension lied. It wasnít a fear about America being defeated but it was fear about not being able to see my favorite television show due to the pre-emptions that resulted from news reports on the war. It wasnít misplaced patriotism, for I was indeed young and could care less who won, and could care less whether my family was rooting for America or the opposition. The reason was I simply didnít care. It played little relevance in my everyday life and the situation wasnít any different for any of my friends either. None of them ran home to watch the coverage, some of them even having family involved, but their aspirations stood low. Instead, they were raised not to worry about the outcome of the war. Worrying would simply waste precious time since no one really knew what would happen.

As a youngster we are often told to speak our mind, ask questions, express beliefs and fears. Few children get this opportunity and there are occasionally a discussion or two in class until the situation drags on where it leaves the frame of importance. Some children get that opportunity, others donít. Most forget about it. Yet, the real question is, should a child care? Shouldnít a child be aware of what is going on?

The country is at war now thanks to the events of September 11th, but were it not for those events, many children wouldnít have even known that the situation was quite tense prior to the incident. Many children donít even know what is going on there now since the media has officially taken a Ďbackseatí in reporting those events. Withstanding those that may have family members serving or have family members who were victims of the attacks, the situation has once again become nothing to fuss about for the children. That is, until something else big happens.

Ten years down the line, I think, wow. I should have known what was going on then so I could actually explain to my children my personal experience of the time the world was taking to directions unknown. Yet, I was too worried about television. Youíll be surprised at the things our history professors remember, most of them because their family memberís were directly involved, but others because they cared, even at a young age. Knowing that a war occurred and actually understanding the processions and reasoning are two completely different ideals.

As a child, it is felt that there should be no worries. Nothing more than if itís raining outside or if the sun is shining. For some children, like those in Israel and several other poor countries, worrying about the war isnít an option. Being in a different position, we should consider ourselves thankful, but what we should consider is why the situation is so. Why do we have the option of caring, and other children may not. Surely because of things beyond our control- but the fact is these situations are occuring before us.

It is a point of time in our lifeline. That includes those at the age of eight, ten, or fifteen. Itís not a difficult concept and doesnít require much. Take an interest. Youíll regret not doing it ten years from now.