Generations Lost

Children Lost

Another generation, not ours, not even our children’s but a next generation of children. Children lost to poverty, poor health, illiteracy, ignorance, hate and yes, even hopelessness and violence. You might be shaking your head as you read these words, saying not in my backyard, not my grandchild or not any child I know. I can only ask you to think, to consider are your assumptions really true? If this is you, wake up! You are either living in a very rarified position, away from the rest of us, or you are blind too what is truly happening in what was once possibly the greatest country in the World.

1 in 45 children are homeless today, living either on the street or in homeless shelters.

1 in 5 children will go to bed hungry tonight, during the summer months this is even more devastating as there will be no school lunch program so they may remain hungry through the day. Of course, many states have already cut the school lunch program from their budget so they will already be use to the daily hunger especially at this time of the month when food stamps have stretched as far as they will go. We can dress this up all we like (Food Insecure = HUNGRY) but the simple fact is, they are without food.

50,000 children sleep on the street in this country at any given time. These are the runaways, the at risk children.

250,000 families with children are in shelters at any time. This number doesn’t account for families living on the street or in their cars, families squatting in empty buildings or on park benches.

National Alliance to End Homelessness

To make it more real, perhaps easier to see the numbers:

National Alliance to End Homelessness

Youth violence, a nice way to say our young are killing each other without remorse; their weapons include their fists, guns and even words. Bullying is on the rise along with suicide. Our Juvenile Justice system overflows with the spillover to the adult prisons; the coffers of the for profit prison system in nearly every state of the union overflowing. Youthful offenders, boys and girls as young as twelve remanded as adults for crimes even a decade ago they couldn’t have imagined and now they commit without understanding the consequence, they will have a lifetime to consider though as they sit in cells and on yards never intended for them. Wasted lives, wasted futures, wasted potential and all our futures are at risk, as an entire generation turned more antisocial, even sociopathic.

What were we thinking in our Greed and Self-Absorption, what did we think when we failed so miserably to provide communities and schools for all the children of this nation and not just our own. Did we really believe we could draw invisible lines, build invisible walls high enough and escape with our ‘White Flight’ and the wretchedness and purity of our selfishness wouldn’t follow us, is that what we believed? Those birds have come home to roost, each generation becoming more entitled than the last; each generation in this millennium more inclined to demand their place at the table while contributing nothing. It is our fault for training them and providing nothing but our own sense of entitlement, our own self-absorption and lack of compassion, along the way. What will we do now?

Generations Lost used the following sources and my own broken heart:


  1. The problems will not just right themselves or go away.. All the while even here in the UK laws are being passed which are to enforce more restrictions upon the younger generation.. A law in Wales was passed in the City of Bangor that put a curfew on Children under the age of 16 out at night link here
    We have become nations detached from Caring.. We have written off our Children in many cases as the bad behavioural element of society.. They are often forgotten, neglected and left to fend for themselves.. We say they do not respect the older generation, and yet we do not respect them.. The Do-gooders too have much to answer for.. For with respect comes discipline something that is no longer there within the homes of many or schools.. and while I do not by any means condone abuse.. It never did me or my own children any harm to learn there were consequences to our actions.. The Do-gooders have taken that now one step further whereby it is a crime to chastise your children from right and wrong.. So they grow up thinking they are untouchable and there are no consequences and hence act in a fashion which is called unruly..
    Children grow up as Latch-key kids now-a-days while both parents have to work, and that LOVE is no longer within our family units,, in fact the home is no longer a Unit for many children .. and for many thats why they run away..
    I have not got the answer Val.. except to agree with you here.. We need to address this situation Now.. They are our future generation THEY are going to need all the help they can get for this world we leave to them is not going to be a pretty place to live..
    A great Post Val.. I will be back to catch up on more later.. ~Sue

    • Thank you for the link Sue, many of my friends in the UK have said the same things as you have. I am dismayed by what we have done to our children through our inattention. Dr. Spock was the first, his views on child rearing were abysmal and created the first generation of selfish brats, it has gone downhill from there.

  2. I think part of the solution is in the children who are on the outside of the prison walls. They are the ones who will be shaping the world in a few more years. I am thinking of our children, Val. It is not enough for us to ask the questions because we are deemed irrelevant because it “does not directly affect” us since our children are old enough to vote.

    • Yes, they are and in many cases they aren’t going to the polls except every four years for the Presidential election. It isn’t enough. We, my generation and yours created this problem. Frankly, we are still here and should at least make an effort to start fixing it.

  3. All of us can raise awareness – as what you and many are doing. These ‘stories’ need to be told.

  4. This is truly heartbreaking. We can’t afford to be apathetic. Whether it’s not happening in our neighborhoods or to children we know or not, it’s happening and that’s all we need to understand.

    • I grow increasingly fearful of our apathy and what appears to be our growing insulation. We seem more and more able to look right through those who are most in need, as if they are not there. I wonder, what is next.

  5. Sometimes knowing the truth just isn’t enough, but really waking up to it.
    This is a heartbreaking post, Val!

    • Deb, I just keep pounding these truths home. Working here and in my community and in the Juvenile Justice system itself to pound this home. Our children are worth saving, not just some of them not just the ones whose parents can afford to send them off to private schools but all of them.

      It is heartbreaking. It is getting worse. It isn’t like this is super secret information. I will never understand how as a nation we think it is just fine this is happening.

  6. Kids are bullied,abused in their own homes ..this is not a kid friendly world Val but then its not fit for humans anymore..
    horrible news scars the papers everyday,some talk about it,some forget it with the turn of the page…

    • Soma, I am at the point where I think I refuse to accept that as the only possible outcome, that we simply turn the page and turn our backs. There has to be something else. Children starving whether here or anyplace in the world simply doesn’t make sense when there is more than enough food to feed them. Children killing themselves and each other simply doesn’t make sense.

      There has to be another option. There simply has to be.

  7. What a sad world we are laying out for the next generation. The numbers of homelessness are shocking and sad. Thank-you for bringing light to the issues.

    • I think our entire situation right now is shocking and sad. I also think it is fixable, not without effort though and it seems so many of us are unwilling to get up and say enough. That to me is even more shocking.

  8. Beautifully written, Valentine. My husband and I constantly talk about teaching our children, who are lucky to have been born to parents who can afford to educate them, to give back and help others. Too often the talk is just talk and we don’t act. Your post inspires me to stop the jawing and help. Thank you.

    • I suspect many of us struggle with what to do now, how to help. There are so many open problems and we individually simply can’t take on the world. I keep thinking though, there are enough of us who are fortunate, that we can make small differences and perhaps that is enough.

      Thanks Stacie!

  9. I don’t often comment on your post, Valentine, because I get too emotional.
    What do we have to do as a people to correct this predicament? Maybe the answer lies in a NEW question? I’m in another country but that doesn’t mean we are untouched by similar statistics=children lost.
    What hasn’t been working or what has become mundane might need a new approach. If I can be of assistance, I will give you my best. Let’s try a new way but I have no concept of what that might be…

    • I think the start is enough people asking the question of our governments and ourselves. We have become so passive and so nonchalant, even those of us who ‘care’ seem to have become willing to say it is someone else who needs to do something.

      I don’t know what the answer is, I think you are right though. I think it must start with asking new questions. Perhaps also reaching across borders and finding common ground, working together to find common solutions and demanding some of the organizations we already have in place actually do something.

      I think we have to remind ourselves we still have the power to change the world – as a generation we did it once before.

  10. What, doesn’t money just trickle down?

  11. This is as heartbreaking as it is true. This nation spent billions of dollars in Iraq & Afghanistan, yet can’t seem to find money to fund education & nutrition programs. Conservatives in Congress were quick to go to war, but everything else requires discussion. I’m not a bleeding heart liberal, but I know a stable society is one that looks out for its most vulnerable members, including children & the elderly.

    • I never thought of myself as a bleeding heart liberal, but I have always been a progressive and have always believed we had to educate the young and care for all members to ensure a healthy society.

      We are sending 13 year old children to prison with life sentences, we are the only ‘advanced’ society that does this.

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