Rites of Passage for Kids Today : A Father’s Assessment over his Children’s Concerns

My name is Jason, and I’ve been labeled a street photographer. I’m a father first, then a guy with a camera second. I have five children total: three grown and two younger. This story is of the younger two.

Cash and Parker are my prop buddies. We hit flea markets and antique stores looking for treasure to use in photos. On one outing we found a World War II gas mask for a child, some old plastic army men, and an old rubber training pistol. I started off talking to my boys about gun safety, never touch a gun, an empty gun always causes accidents, i.e., I didn’t know it was loaded. Little did I know where the conversation was headed.

Cash asked why a child would have need of a gas mask. I said, “A long time ago, there was a war  on and people were terrified. Children caught in the war were taught to wear gas masks and take precautions. War knows no gender, race, creed or age—war knows death. It was a scary time; can you imagine walking to school wearing a gas mask, watching for planes to drop bombs or for the enemy to jump out of the bushes and start shooting?”

Both boys sat there staring at me. Then the oldest one said, “Times haven’t changed much.”

Our children are our future. If we don’t take time to listen and comfort their fears,then we have only ourselves to blame.

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