‘Growing up is losing some illusions in order to acquire others’. This quote can relate to many adolescents who are going through this ‘bumpy ride’ of growing up. Even though this process is tiring and tedious, it is also fulfilling and a way to acquire many qualities that in needed in the future when they are adults. By being able to grow up and see that they are not in the center of their world, the children are forced to become strong-hearted and be more aware of the world around them. Through all the changes, the children reach a point where they are able to stand on their own feet in this harsh world.
The starting point of entering adulthood is when the children are able to distinguish between what is reality and what is not. Once the truth is brought out to the children, there is no going back from this process of growing up. This is the case with Michele in “I’m not scared” where he grows up from being an innocent little boy who looks up to his father. He never thinks that his loving father would ever do a single harm to anyone, and to figure out that his father has kidnapped a kid for money shocks him. This realisation hits hard just like many other kids. Here Michele’s innocence is betrayed by his ‘hero’. Just like Michele, Jem Finch in ‘To kill a mockingbird’ takes a while to realise the true nature of his town, Maycomb. He has always assumed that ‘Maycomb folks were the best’, but after the Tom Robinson trial, Jem is able to understand that in his town, injustice and racism exist evidently. Even though Tom Robinson is not guilty, he is killed and blamed just because he is black and Jem is at a point to see that the town is not perfect as it seems. Loss of innocence of everyone has to go through at some point in their life plays an important role in the journey of maturing.
A child’s world is full of dangers, imaginary and real. They are often filled with fears that they think they can never conquer. However, it when they are forced to face the fear that their true self come out. Jem is no exception to this rule. He like many children has many childhood fears and one is Boo Radley, who is commonly known as the ‘malevolent phantom’. Jem is pushed to his limits when his pants get stuck on Boo Radley’s fence. Afraid of disappointing his father for losing his pants and misbehaving, Jem goes back to Boo Radley’s house to retrieve it. Here Jem’s bravery and maturity reaches a new level when he comes to realise that Boo Radley is not a phantom when he notices the presents Boo Radley places in the knot-hole. Michele also has his fears just like Jem. His dread of ‘ogres and witches’ appear throughout the story. It is an important part in Michele’s path of growing up when he comes to term with these fears. He lures the ‘gypsies’ and all the others on to a bus. He imagines his stomach cut open and them walking happily away. Michele, who has dreams of monster and is frightened by them, invents a way to be not scared anymore. This shows that Michele up to a point in life where is able to take some control. Just like these characters, many children in reality and forced to make important decisions in their life and are offered profound hope and bravery in them for conquering fears.
The world of betrayals is a distressing and difficult lesson for children, however it one of the lessons that they will never forget. Children should be able to trust their parents and friends to protect them however they are sometimes let down is through these experiences that make the children more aware of the surroundings. Michele who wanted to look up to his father as his ‘hero’ is betrayed when he finds out that his father is the ‘bogeyman’. He starts to realise that his father ‘was good by day but at night he was bad’. Michele comes to terms that his father is not going to help Filipo. This is the part where Michele decides that it is him who should do something. Jem is also confused and rattled when the thought that Tom Robinson might win is interrupted when he finds out that when ‘a white man’s word against a black man’s, the white man always win’. When parents let down their children and it is the children who are forced to make the moral decisions. This demonstrates essential characteristics that help them go onto the right path of moral development.
To grow up is simply not a matter of age, but a staple period in children’s lives where many essential qualities and traits needed for the future is gained. Many children are forced to take on a new role and conquer their childhood fears. Sometimes going through a rough phase with people can show who really has stuck with them through the whole journey and who really is worthy. Therefore growing up is tiring and sometimes unbearable however, it makes the children braver and stronger in many ways. It is a step by step process that enables children to be good human beings in the future.