Posts Tagged ‘Michael Jackson the child’

Michael Jackson

June 27, 2009

I can’t begin to fully understand the childhood of Michael Jackson, but I can imagine what it might have been like.  I picture a very young boy with amazing highs and terrible lows.  There would have been times when he felt like he was on top of the world, and times when he felt like he was stuck alone in a locked closet.

I grew up with Michael Jackson.  Now don’t misunderstand me, I didn’t personally know him, I was born just a few months before him, and grew up during the same time.  I would have never been allowed to invite him to my home.  Two things would have kept me from having him over; one of course would have been his fame, the other unfortunately would have been the fact that he was black.  In the 60’s, at least in the south, blacks and whites did not have much of a social interaction.    Was it the same where Michael lived and worked?  Was it ok for him to make money for a group of white men, but not ok for him to go to their kid’s birthday party?  Every child has limitations on the friends they make because of where they live, and their social status.  How limited was the young Michael Jackson?  Could he have realistically had any real friends?

I imagine that a pop star has to stay in the spotlight to maintain his or her status in that world.  It’s a competitive market and hard work, constant traveling, and overwhelming pressure must be all a part of daily life.  Michael Jackson was in elementary school when he was immersed in that life.  He once said in an interview that he loved performing.  He was the center of his world when he performed.  Thousands of people wanted to be with him, touch him, be a part of his life.  It’s no wonder he felt on top of the world.  But, what about when he wasn’t performing.  He still had to work.  He still had to practice, record, learn new things.  Who was sharing that time with him?

Michael Jackson lived an adult life before he had the chance to learn how to be an adult.  He didn’t have the opportunity to be a child, and being a child is how you learn how to be an adult.  That’s the time you learn how to interact with others.  It’s when you learn what works and doesn’t work in social situations.  Mistakes are constantly made by children and the lessons learned during childhood are very important.  They are also excusable.  A child can make a bad choice, and the only excuse he or she needs is that they’re too young to understand their actions.  Michael Jackson didn’t get the chance to learn those childhood lessons, at least not during his younger years.

It seems pretty clear that Michael tried to become the child he was never allowed to be after he was old enough to control the life he lived.  He created Neverland.  A place where kids would, and to some extent did, enjoy being.  He was able to finally play with kids.  Unfortunately, kids playing with kids is seen as perfectly acceptable, even good for them.  An adult man playing with kids (with the adult acting like a kid) is not.  Sleepovers are always suspect.  Two ten year old boys sleeping in the same bed during a sleepover is perfectly normal.  A man and a ten year old sleeping in the same bed is taboo.  A ten year old boy who can’t wait to get outside and play with his friends is normal.  A man who can’t wait to get out and play with a group of children is seen as disturbed.  No matter how hard he might have tried, Michael Jackson could not relive the childhood he missed.

If, Michaels interactions with children when he was an adult was as innocent as he professed, then I can only imagine the horror and pain he must have gone through when he was accused of so many ugly things.  If, as an adult, he finally became the child he was never allowed to be, then the world’s reaction to his actions was totally unfair and cruel.  He was attacked for things that would seem normal in a child.  He was targeted for things that any child could have done.  Did he finally get to experience childhood, only to have the world, who had once idolized him,  make him some type of monster?