When I was nine, I wanted to play basketball, chase stray cats, and lip-sing to New Kids on the Block songs with my best friend...
This week, one of my 3rd grade students tells me her and a friend like to play "Momma and Doctor" with her grandmother's needles. "Pretend needles?" I ask. "No - the real ones," she says, and shows me a scar on her arm where she got her last shot, from her 9 year old friend.
Another one of my kids, age 8, was pulled out of class today, for bringing a dime-bag of "substance" to class, and sharing it with his friends.
The missions director of the church we're staying in tells us about the 10, 11 and 12 year old mothers in her youth group. One claims her infant " is just greedy" when she cries for food three or four hours after her last meal.
I don't understand how children are so completely un-sheltered these days. It feels like some of them have already lost their future, after just 10 years on the planet.