I have a nephew. His name is Nate. He’s turning two in two months. A curious kid, learning to talk, learning to pronounce my name. I say he looks most like me, but all of my other siblings (there are seven of us), argue the same. I know I win, though. We’ve got the same big eyes, the same bald head when we were born, the same toothy grin.
I wonder how the world will be when he turns ten.
Will he climb the same trees I climbed in, or eat the same wild berries I did? Will he be able to climb the rice terraces, feeling the constant burn of the sun and the rough feel of the soil in his feet? Will he dream of dragons and mermaids, or a wizard who saved the world?
I read about it in the news a few weeks ago. The Black Rhino, extinct.
I remember when I was a kid, reading about lions and rhinos and pandas and bears. I remember when I dreamed to see them in person. All I got to see in our country were stray dogs and cats, house birds, and the occasional hamster in the pet store. So you can imagine how the giant horns and towering trunks amazed me. I have yet to fulfil those dreams, and here’s the news telling me I should hurry up.
I would, except I don’t have the money to go abroad and see them yet. I’m about to finish college, though, and maybe someday, I can. I beg them though, I beg the lions, and rhinos, and pandas, and bears, please. Wait for me.
But more than that, wait for my nephew.
Wait for my children.
And my grandchildren.
And their children.
Because I don’t want them growing up speaking of these animals as if they were fantastic creatures that lived long ago. I want them to be able to see them. Maybe, touch them.
Speaking of fantastic creatures, though, I also read a few articles about that. Parents placing dinosaurs around their house, so when their children wake up, they’ll think the toys were alive. Just to awaken their children’s imaginations.
I’m not exactly sure who to blame for how it came to be this way, but I know there was a time when parents didn’t have to go to that extreme. I remember when children dreamed—because that’s what children do. I remember when I could be a princess, and my parents could be king and queen. That’s what I thought. That’s what I believed.
I knew nothing of sex, of gadgets or guns. And I had one heck of a childhood.
I’m not saying, though, that all of these are bad.
I’m just saying that these things can wait.
There’s no need to put it up on every television channel, or advertise it on every mall.
My fifteen minutes are almost up, and I have to stop writing soon. So…please guys, the children can wait.
Nate can wait.
For now, let him dream.
And someday, let him see.