Why I should have gone to Neverland

“If growing up means it would be beneath my dignity to climb a tree, I’ll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up! Not me!”

― J.M. Barrie

When I watch old home videos of myself as a child, I reminisce of the days I spent endlessly playing with my huge variety of toys and dressing up as a Disney princess. I’ll be eighteen in merely a few months and I am desperately clinging onto my childhood as I come to terms with the fact that adulthood is looming.

We all grow up, that is inevitable, but the way we grow up differs from one another and from generation to generation. As many other young people my age would agree, looking back on my childhood something that I’ll always remember is how big my imagination was. I used to love books and stories that broadened my imagination; I developed my imagination as I grew up and used to find the simplest of things so fascinating. A vivid memory is the time my mum brought a sofa and I came home to the huge cardboard box that it was delivered in. I was excited by this as my mind flooded with the countless possibilities. The next day my best friend and I spent the entire day sat in that cardboard box as it was now our own mansion and we had it all to ourselves.

These days I am constantly seeing children with their eyes locked onto their Ipads, watching programs or playing games and this really upsets me. Technology has had a huge impact on childhood and if that’s how much of an influence technology has on children’s lives now, then what is it going to be like in twenty years time for my child? I want my future child to have a childhood like mine and to grow up with a mind full of imagination instead of spending every second of their childhood oblivious to the outside world and always looking at a screen.

As the years have gone by children have grown up faster and faster. Ten years ago when my sister was twelve she still played with her Sylvanian families and had only just realised that Father Christmas wasn’t real. Whereas these days twelve year olds are walking around with a full face of makeup, claiming they are all “too cool” for toys and games.

Childhood lasts for just over ten years of your life, not even a quarter of it. So what is the hurry with growing up so fast? Being old isn’t fun. I know I am only 17 but I am repeatedly looking back to when I was at Primary school and my biggest decision was what I was going to write about in my story that I was writing at school. Not thinking about which university I will go to, what I will study, how I will pay for it all and how I am going to cope with all this stress.

You only really appreciate your childhood properly until you are older and are looking back on it. It truly saddens me that growing up is not the same as it used to be and I wish I could tell every child in the world to slow down and realise that they only get to grow up once.

It’s partly society’s fault for projecting too much pressure on children of such a young age, such as stressing the importance of SATS and school admissions tests. Learning is important but not nearly as important as life experience and self discovery.

If I could, I would happily have flown to Neverland at the age of 7. However unfortunately as I later learned in life, Peter Pan isn’t going to fly into my bedroom and take me. Although in the future I will be sure to enlighten my future child’s mind with stories and imagination so their childhood is filled with just as much happiness as mine was.

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