Friday, September 20, 2013

Child Labor and the Social Construction of Childhood Reflection

After reading the article Child Labor and the Social Construction of Childhood by Gwen Sharp, I couldn’t help but to think about the differences between children of the 1900s to children from today. Back in the day, child labor was common; children were placed in abrasive working conditions and expected to make money in order to help their families make ends meet. Going to work was a priority while going to school came second. As an American born in the 20th century, I can’t help but to feel a bit disturbed by this concept. Though I understand that life was very different in the 1900s compared to today, I feel that children should be able to experience a time in their lives free from the burdens that they will eventually have to go through once they grow and mature. However, this doesn’t mean that I think that children shouldn’t have any sort of responsibilities or obligations. I just believe that it should come in a milder form compared to working in mines and factories.

Additionally, I feel that it’s important to note that children are different from adults in many ways- cognitively, socially, emotionally, and physically. For them to be expected to do some of the same work as adults is a bit ridiculous. Furthermore, it’s crazy to think how different my life could have been if I was born in a different generation. If born in the early 1900s, I probably would have been doing the same type of work as the children in the article. Instead, my childhood was quite different. My main priority was attending school and getting good grades. I was lucky enough to not have to worry about helping my family financially as my parents worked very hard to make sure that my brother and I had everything that we needed. This makes me grateful for the childhood that I did have and so happy to be a 90’s kid.

Sharp's article

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