SOME ARE CALLING it a loss of childhood innocence.

I’m not alone in wondering how the futures of our kids could be shaped by the coronavirus crisis.

Many parents here are concerned about their children’s health and safety upon returning to school in September, but are also worried about the psychological effects social distancing has had on their kids during remote learning. This came to light when the results of a statewide survey were recently revealed by New Hampshire’s Department of Education.

I saw a mother walking with her two young daughters one hot Saturday afternoon. They could have been headed to the nearby park or possibly to do some shopping downtown. They wore masks, and one of the little girls kept adjusting hers.

A sign of the times, and now all of us have to be concerned about the droplets of air that we breathe.

I suppose that every generation suffers a loss of childhood innocence when tough times affect our world.

And we manage. The Vietnam War was something I didn’t understand early on. I was unaware that an estimated 47,434 American soldiers would die by 1975 or that our nation was fiercely divided over the war.

I didn’t know that our U.S. troops would endure 120-degree temperatures while sitting in swamps in the wet jungle terrain.

Back then, I was with my brother Andy participating in the Nashua Co-Operative Bank’s Penny Party.

The timer was set for 60 seconds, and you tried to collect as many pennies from the floor with your little hands as you could into the small, plastic owl banks that you were given.

I have the old photograph that shows us grinning at the end of the downtown bank contest, delighted at probably amassing 30 cents each or so. In those days, it was enough for a small bag of penny candy and a comic book.

When old enough to understand, I noticed young women wearing POW bracelets, and I wanted one, too. The silver bracelets were engraved with the rank, name and loss date of an American serviceman captured or missing during the war.

And how could any young person not be emotionally affected by the famous photograph of 9-year-old Kim Phuc running naked, badly burned and crying on a road leading away from a South Vietnamese village during a 1972 napalm attack?

I think that to make kids feel safe, loved and protected, most parents try hard to insulate their children from upsetting events. They’re honest but share only as much as young kids need to know.

With that said, the ice cream man is making his afternoon rounds, kids are riding their bicycles and looking forward to another summer day.

Life goes on, there are tough times, and we manage.

Joan Stylianos is a Nashua native. Her column is published weekly. She can be reached at