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Pte 70 Score Essay on “What Childhood Illusions have you had Shattered as you were Growing up?”

What Childhood Illusions have you had Shattered as you were Growing up?


For the student; this essay should prove easy enough, since childhood and growing up are recent experiences. For this writer, it is not so easy, the growing up period being rather a long time ago. However, it is said that as we get older, childhood memories become much sharper, so I hope that what will now be written is based in fact and not in fancy!

I was lucky enough to have good parents, who gave me a secure background and who were ambitious for me to achieve success. in life. Some children then, and perhaps more now in Britain, lacked this basic advantage.

Almost from birth, these children are neglected, often ill-treated, subjected to violence or abuse. Few are given incentives. They grow up believing that the world is against them, and quickly become street-wise, concerned with self-protection, and using violence to get something out of life. Childish illusions are knocked out of them almost from birth. Their view of life may be distorted, but it is realistic.

As a more fortunate boy, my first illusion was that life is essentially fair, that people who merit life’s rewards always receive them, and that the tragedies of life are somehow deserved. It took the death of my best friend following a sudden terminal illness to shatter that illusion.

That episode, and at a later stage, the deaths of so many of my contemporaries in the Second World War, finally convinced me that life is not a tight moral framework. It was not until many years had passed that I began to perceive the answers which a religious faith supplies.

The obverse of that coin is that life often is fair when one hopes for a little unfairness. I remember to take a History exam for which I had done little or no work. The night before the exam, I prayed hard for the few questions I could answer which would give me a pass. The right questions didn’t come, and quite rightly I failed. Children brought up with a religious background believe that prayers are always answered. One day, as a small boy, I had been stopped by my father from doing. something I wanted to do, and I was angry. It came to bedtime, and prayers, finally to ‘God bless …’ So I said, with my father present, ‘God bless Mummy, and Grannie and Grandpa, and my dog, and that’s all!’ It took me some years to realize that. God takes a rather more sophisticated view of our prayer life. Another illusion is that the world is a safe place, that people are basically kind, and that they will never harm children. That was much more true in my youth than it is today, when, at least in Britain, children are taught never to speak to strangers. This is for obvious reasons in view of the great increase in child molestation and even abduction.

As a child, I lived on the outskirts of a Midlands city but in easy reach of the country- side. My friends and I could roam freely through the lanes and over farm land, given a benevolent farmer. However; word went round that a small girl I knew had had something nasty done to her. The grown-ups wouldn’t specify what that nasty thing was, but we were all warned not to talk to strange men. Another illusion shattered, but that was rather exceptional in those days.

I cannot over-praise the kindness of my parents, but in their advice, however kindly meant, there was sometimes a false note. Mothers are naturally protective, sometimes over-protective. Mine was always averse to my playing rugby football, for which I had some talent.

Of course some people get hurt. I was always rather in two minds until I realized the difference between natural concern and over-protectiveness. Another fact unrealized at the time is that great, sometimes life-long friendships are made through that most social of all games. To believe that parents are always wise is another illusion.

However kind parents may be to their children, their conduct to each other is not always perfect. If we are fortunate as young children, we tend to idealize parental relationships. Differences soon become apparent, however, and another illusion is soon shattered.

In the Britain of the 30s, marriage was sacrosanct. Divorce was career-threatening and socially unacceptable. Unhappiness therefore tended to fester within an ostensibly good marriage.

Children were generally shielded from a soured relationship, but raised voices in another room, inexplicable absences by father, the visits of strange men to mother when she was alone, soon shattered the illusion that they married and lived happily ever after.

Perhaps the final illusion to go the same way may be attributed to a strong body and a good constitution. Such physical assets build up the subconscious belief that one will live for ever. Accidents will always happen to other people. So will the aging process. These illusions are soon laid to rest.


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