Keep watch on your children’s youthful innocence |

Keep watch on your children’s youthful innocence

Karel Ancona-Henry

“Tell me what you want, what you really, really want.”

Uh, huh. What I really, really want, is to be able to sit through an elementary school talent show without feeling my face turn as red as it did when I was 12 and went to see “Grease” with my dad and asked him what a condom was. Before he answered, the realization of what that was, hit me.

“Karel was soooooo embarrassed I could feel the heat spilling off her in the dark,” Dad told Mom.

Yep. It takes a lot to embarrass me, but every year, I cringe to see little girls singing lyrics that I naively hope they don’t know the meaning to.

The ultra-sexy moves, combined with simulated noises that should only be heard in the adult world, mortify me every time.

And I would say I’m a fairly uninhibited, open-minded soul. My children and their friends think I’m groovy. But even groovy doesn’t widen my comfort zone on this.

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In the days when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I was fronting a rock and roll band, there was NOTHING we were singing that I would have felt uncomfortable performing today and in front of my mom.

.38 Special’s “Hold On Loosely” hardly qualifies as something that would curl hair.

My belief is that we need to set milestones that give our children something to look forward to. Little steps toward the next level of growing up, without pushing them there too fast.

I have kept a check on what they’ve been allowed to wear, what they’ve been allowed to watch and listen to.

I have a standing rule, that there will be no ear piercing going on until the girls are 13. I’ve had to say, “No, not ’til you’re 13,” so many times, that if I had a dollar for the times I’ve said it, I’d be living in the Baja right now.

In spite of knowing this rule, my sister, while planning her wedding several years ago, bought the girls pierced earrings to wear at the ceremony. She figured that since her day was so special, there would be no stopping her every whim. Wrong.

“I guess you’ll be finding them equally cute clip ons, if they must wear earrings, because they’re not getting their ears pierced, not even for your wedding,” I said. Dad was in the background laughing, most likely because this battle was the same one he and Mom had fought.

And boy did the girls look so very beautiful with their frilly dresses and clip-ons.

The point of my rant is that our kids, thanks to all the outside influence, barely stand a chance at childhood anymore. Society rushes them through it and as parents, we’re the last bastion of youth before they fall off the cliff into adulthood. Which, by my calculations, is difficult most days and quite a lot of work.

Take the time to teach what they need to know to be safe and to make wise decisions in the face of all that pressure. But don’t give them so much they lose sight of their innocence.

“Sissy,” said Em to Natalie a few months ago. “Thanks for letting me play Barbies with you. My friends don’t think it’s cool.”

Those words were music to my ears. Because, as she faces all the challenges that come with middle school, she still allows herself to play.

Other News: Sierra Pacific has donated a Jeep Cherokee to Citizens for Affordable Homes Inc. continuing the power company’s support of CAHI. CitiBank has also donated $5,000 to fund a summer intern to assist CAHI and learn nonprofit management skills. Program guidelines require the candidate to be either a high school graduate enrolled in college for the fall term or a returning college student.

• Contact reporter Karel Ancona-Henry at or 246-4000.