"No one ever fully recovers from their past,” so writes Alan Cumming, Scottish actor, singer and activist.
It’s a dramatic statement, but I would change the words ‘their past’ to ‘their childhood.’
I didn’t have to ‘recover’ from my early life, even though my childhood had – and has had – a substantial influence on my life.
That must be true of most people.
I was one of the lucky ones. Although there were ups and downs of various kinds during my childhood, it was generally a happy one, where I was constantly well cared-for and loved.
Sadly, that is not an experience shared by everyone.
Recently I’ve been watching some ‘True Crime’ programs on Netflix. (Yes, I have succumbed!)
As these televised investigations reveal details about murders and other shocking offences, it soon becomes apparent that almost all perpetrators of serious crime have experienced appalling childhoods.
Some have been forced out of home as mere children - homeless at an unconscionable early age. Some have been mistreated, physically, psychologically, sexually and/or mentally throughout most of their early lives. Some have been the recipients of drug-fuelled neglect.
Many never knew a father. Many never knew a mother’s love.
“No one ever fully recovers from their past”
And: “Give me a child until he is 7 and I will show you the man.” (Attributed to Aristotle).
Those statements are telling.
The solution seems simple: ensure that every single person experiences a happy, loved, and well-nourished childhood and the crime rate and accompanying misery will all but vanish.
If only it were that simple.
It is, instead, an impossible and insurmountable problem that, however hard good people and good organisations may try to alleviate the problem of childhood neglect, nothing touches the sides.
And so, as children suffer, so too, will society suffer in the end.
Must add that there are a few decidedly plain nasty (evil?) criminals who may have had a privileged childhood.
As, also, there are well adjusted and upstanding members of the community whose early unhappy childhood experiences have not stopped them from having a successful adulthood.
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.