Kids feel the effect of the economy, too

DKS Editors

When we were growing up, the words “economy” and “recession” weren’t exactly household terms. We went on vacations, made trips to candy stores and participated in seemingly unlimited after-school programs.

That isn’t exactly the case anymore. After-school and enrichment programs in schools are being cut, and many children aren’t able to cherish the simple joys of childhood we once took for granted. All the while, they may hear about the recession, not fully understanding the meaning.

But even though they may not understand the situation and the effects on them may not seem as serious as losing a job, the recession’s impact on children is stronger than we might perceive.

Remember the art and gym classes we looked forward to so much in elementary schools as a break from the monotonous daily routine? If things continue the way they are going, these programs will be the first to be cut. The class music concerts, track-and-field days and other things we looked forward to as children may be no more.

Not only does this make a child’s educational experience more dull, but it prevents him or her from being fully educated. Students who just learn the minimum curriculum of math and science don’t have the same chance of becoming as fully educated as we did. They may never discover their full realm of interests.

And eliminating or cutting physical education programs only hurts the nation’s fight against obesity.

These cuts, like any others that are happening during this time of crisis, can’t be avoided. Like the budget cuts in higher education, they have to happen somewhere in state government and national government.

But instead of brushing children aside, thinking the economy doesn’t affect them, we should realize the very real effects it is having on their lives.

Elementary school program cuts may seem minor in the grand scheme of cuts, but they will affect students nonetheless.

And while they may not have jobs to lose, their parents may. When a parent loses a job, there’s no doubt the child will feel the effects. While some things, such as fewer “just because” trips to the toy store, may help children become less materialistic, others, such as moving across town, may have negative effects on the child’s upbringing.

In times like these, it’s easy to get caught up in our own troubles. It’s easy to brush off people who may not have it as hard as us. But don’t forget about those who might not yet understand what’s going on.

Educate children about the economic situation in a way so they may understand what’s going on. That way, when they grow up – and hopefully times will be better – they’ll understand how things came to be the way they are.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.