Stolen Childhood

The following is an English version of an article written in German by Stefan W. Hockertz. I would like to thank Mr. Hockertz for allowing me to publish his article here on my blog. We do not personally know each other. I simply came across his article and enjoyed it enough that I wanted to share it in English. I’ve attempted to convey the sarcasm in his ‘voice’ as well as his seriousness. In most cases, I changed “Corona” to “Covid-19” or “Coronavirus.” In a few places where the German words could possibly mean more than one thing in English, I’ve added other English words with a ‘/’ in between them.

Stolen childhood

The prescribed masks have a highly dangerous symbolic effect, especially for children and young people. Exclusive reprint from “Generation Mask.”

by Stefan W. Hockertz

Photo: Dudaeva/

What is the pandemic doing to children and adolescents? Immunologist and toxicologist, Stefan Hockertz, is grappling with a problem which is too often drowned in the flood of information about COVID-19. Hockertz is particularly concerned about the consequences of the incomprehensible government measures and the one-sided media reporting in which facts get manipulated and risks are magnified. To get answers to the central question, he evaluated scientific studies, interviewed parents and teachers, and analyzed children’s drawings and captions. The author’s findings are alarming: The government’s measures and coverage of Covid-19 are destroying the institution of family, which is so important for children. Children are overloaded with death rates, pictures of coffins, and reports of unemployment, which also threatens their parents. In addition, they are – entirely unjustifiably – stigmatized as “super spreaders.” Exclusive reprint from “Generation Mask – How our children are suffering from the Covid-19 measures and what we can do about it.”

And then came the mask, the so-called mouth and nose protection. In the beginning there was still a lot of creativity in terms of shape, color and design. Many also wore masks with their soccer club emblem, a cool saying, animal caricatures, or obscure patterns. It was almost like a competition for the most noticeable face-covering. Mothers stitched in [or attached] a chord. Jokes were made. Coronavirus? Masks, toilet paper, baking yeast.

Face-masks — up to now, they were only known to be worn by Asian tourists and surgeons in the operating room — and they always seemed strange somehow. But everyday masks quickly took their place in everyday life.  They are apparently supposed to protect oneself against viruses, although the manufacturers exclude this on the packaging. “If you don’t wear a mask, you not only endanger yourself, but also others.” So it is postulated again and again like a prayer wheel (or an endless cycle) on the part of the government. In the next chapter I will take a closer look at whether this is actually the case.

Back to school. Wearing mouth and nose protection in class, during breaks, at the bus stop, and on the school bus is a real burden for many children and young people. It is almost impossible to recognize and assess others’ mental condition/sensitivities, mood/countenance, disposition/spirit, intended tidings/greetings, and other facial expressions [while wearing a mask].

Bülent Ceylan, a cabaret artist and comedian, replied in an interview: “In the past you smiled at each other. Today, only the eyes are seen!”

In addition, there are health concerns regarding the long hours people are having to wear a face-covering: susceptibility to infection, bacteria, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, carbon dioxide.

When school-aged children are asked to “report” others who are not wearing a mask, then we are on dangerous ground. It is not the critical questioning, the healthy skepticism, and the justified doubt about the “mask” measures that are offensive, but the demand for denunciation. The Prime Minister of Baden-Württemberg, Winfried Kretschmann: “Reporting Covid-19-violations makes sense.”

I plead for a careful consideration of the harms and benefits. What can a mouth and nose covering really achieve? Is the proportionality (or arrangement) of these measures justified? I make the claim based on evidence and scientifically factual consideration and study/investigation, far from lobbying, morally-right, or political party clashes or conflicts.

Distance, masks, ventilation: These are the “three cornerstones” of school measures to contain or rather prevent transmission. At times it takes on almost grotesque features/details when the students sit in the classroom with woolen blankets, hot water bottles, pillows, and teapots because the windows are wide open all morning. Colds are therefore inevitable. Ventilation is important, without question. But staying (and persevering) in cold rooms for hours in winter — how can effective learning be possible? Here, too, it must be stated that the measures born out of fear and insecurity are excessive. In this context, the well-intentioned (though alien) advice from Chancellor Angela Merkel that freezing children should counteract the cold in the classrooms by squatting and clapping their hands is ludicrous.

And this is what everyday school life looks like: green and red arrows on the floor, pre-defined directions (indicating which way to walk), spread out rows of chairs and tables, and standing in the lunch line at a distance of 1.5 meters [about 5 feet]. But then off to the overcrowded buses — where you have a maximum of 15 centimeters [about 6 inches] distance. That’s absurd!

The criticism of the crisis management of education politicians [politicians in the field of education policy] is getting louder. It is no longer just a few “crazy” conspiracy theorists and end-time prophets who see that we’re facing massive problems.

Meanwhile, the number of regulations, measures, commandments, and laws, which are increasing every day, is almost unmanageable. And always the anxious look at the number of infections: How is it in our village, in the city? In addition, each federal state has different regulations: halved classes, quarantine, homeschooling, face-to-face lessons for everyone, masks in class for everyone, masks only for secondary schools, school closures, alternating and shift work, hybrid teaching. Which way is right? In the meantime, it’s become clear that schools are not hotspots and that the risk of infection for children and adolescents is not as serious as initially assumed.

So we are now looking more closely at the collateral damage that the Covid-19 measures threaten to cause in schools. Will the warnings from scientists really be taken seriously? Why risk long-term — perhaps even irreversible — damage?

“There is a threat of a generation that will have to pay for Covid-19!” Said Thomas Krüger, President of the German Children’s Fund. A “mask generation” is developing in our society!

[“It threatens a generation, that Covid-19 has to pay for.” – alternate translation]

In the media it is often portrayed as if the children from “socially weaker” families had to suffer [more than others] from Covid-19 and its consequences. I want to contradict that. There is no classification of “Coronavirus winners” and “Coronavirus losers.”

In the following, I introduce a school girl and a school boy — from different contexts and ages: Anna and Mario.

Anna is 12 years old. She lives in a well-off family home where there are no material worries. Anna is a very creative, sensitive girl and expresses her feelings and mental state (sensitivities) in fine drawings. Anna has suffered from asthma since early childhood. The girl has the condition under control and is under regular medical observation and care. Anna attends a private school with the best equipment and a differentiated educational offer. [Note from translator: I’m unable to determine what kind of “offer” is intended in this case. Perhaps it’s some sort of IEP, Individual Education Plan. But, it may be more closely-related to something that the private school offers.]

As in regular schools, Covid-19 regulations apply to private schools, such as the obligation to wear a mouth and nose covering. Anna has big problems with that. The mask makes her breathing difficult, makes her dizzy, and then quickly causes her to panic. However, Anna does not want any special treatment. All of her classmates wear masks. Concentration is increasingly difficult for her, and she tires easily. To make matters worse, Anna is only allowed to meet privately with one friend. That’s how the current contact rules are. The girl is increasingly withdrawing into her own world.

A medical certificate exempts Anna from the mask requirement, and the school accepts this. In the case of one teacher, however, the girl is required to take a seat in the last row of seats. This measure results from the teacher’s concern about infecting himself. With other teachers, the pupil is allowed to keep her usual place. The child feels stigmatized in the face of this treatment. The mother says that her daughter’s earlier happiness has fallen victim to Covid-19 measures. Will her happiness return soon?

Mario is 14 years old. He lives with his family in an apartment. Mario likes to play soccer in a club or enjoys going out with his friends. Both are currently only possible to a limited extent. Mario is big and strong; he needs exercise outside. The apartment quickly becomes too tight for him. The boy is in the 8th grade of the secondary school. Professional internships [normally] would be pending, but they won’t take place. He got a laptop from the school for homeschooling, because his father needs the family-owned device himself. [Note from translator: It doesn’t make sense that he would be loaned a laptop from the school if the family owns it. I’m not sure if there’s a typo in the article that is causing this discrepancy, or what.] Mario does the school work, but somehow he lacks motivation. If he doesn’t understand something, who should he ask in the family?

Nevertheless, he does [his work] bravely and receives commendable comments from his teacher via Padlet. Mario chats with his classmates via WhatsApp . Two girls from his class suddenly kick him out of the class group — just because, for no reason. This makes Mario incredibly angry, and he sends one of the girls a voice message that tells all. In it, he threatens her and announces that he will kill her — “with tools from my father, he is a butcher.” The girl’s family files a criminal complaint against Mario. He later tells police that he doesn’t really know why he did it himself. “I was just really angry!”

Insights into two student realities at the time of Covid-19. The integration of those who think and learn differently, and indeed the inclusion of school-aged children in need of support, is a declared educational goal and right. 

Implementing this in the best possible way for everyone involved in everyday school life was already difficult before Covid-19.

I already quoted it at the beginning:

Covid-19 does not create anything new; Covid-19 only reveals.

Stefan W. Hockertz is an immunologist, toxicologist and pharmacologist, qualified as a professor at the University of Hamburg and was a professor at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf for many years. As an immunotoxicologist, Hockertz is the managing partner of tpi consult GmbH, one of Europe’s leading consulting firms for toxicological and pharmacological technologies. As a European Registered Toxicologist, he is responsible for the approval of drugs and vaccines. In addition to numerous specialist publications and lectures, Hockertz also devotes himself to literary writing. On the subject of Covid-19, he published numerous articles in the media, always motivated by civic responsibility, especially for children and young people.

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Questions unanswered

How can a quick glance at Instagram throw me into “the pit of despair”?  And then, what I found after a mere search on Google (to see if I could come up with a suitable (or fitting) picture or video of the pit of despair to post) is educational and somewhat eye-opening, though not really surprising.

Whew!  Just two sentences and yet they sum up the ceaseless thoughts that swirl in my mind and lead from one endless idea to another.

I initially was thinking of the pit of despair as described and portrayed in The Princess Bride, one of my all time favorite movies, in an effort to make light of my own despair/depression.  However, the aforementioned search brought me to this video:

Like so many others who suffer with depression and ceaseless thoughts, I can totally relate to choosing comfort over food.  (You must watch the short video I’ve included if you’re scratching your head at this point.)  There’s no telling how many times I’ve gone nearly all day without eating anything and not because I was intentionally fasting.  What is it that causes this supposed unnatural inaction? I’m left pondering the answer to that (even though a quick explanation is given in this video) but also to the question I initially proposed at the beginning of this blogpost.

A Few Giveaways

Here’s a list of giveaways that are mostly books…

  • The Original Christmas Specials Collection: Deluxe Edition! (no indication if you’re entering for blu-ray or DVD) – 2 winners, open to USA – HURRY! –> ends November 25, 2018Click here to enter!
  • Children’s book:  Builders and Breakers by Steve Light – 2 winners, open to USA & Canada – ends November 28, 2018Click here to enter!
  • Children’s book – Around the World in 80 Puzzles by Aleksandra Artymoska – 2 winners, open to USA & Canada – ends December 1, 2018Click here to enter!

coming home cv

  • Children’s books:  Little Christmas Tree by Jessica Courtney-Tickle and Coming Home by Michael Morpurgo – 2 winners (2 books each), open to USA & Canada – ends December 2, 2018Click here to enter!
  • Sing a Song of Seasons: A Nature Poem for Each Day of the Year curated by Fiona Waters & illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon – 1 winner, open to USA & Canada – ends December 3, 2018Click here to enter!
  • My Heart Belongs In Gettysburg, Pennsylvania by Murray Pura – 3 winners, open to USA – ends December 5, 2018Click here to enter!

Hope and Pain

Oh how I wish it were as simple as “just think happy, positive thoughts”! 🙂 Life would be so much sweeter if it were easy to turn one’s thoughts from negative, melancholy things to positive, hopeful things.

The more I read and learn about mental illness, the more I realize it is, unfortunately, not a simple or easy process to switch one’s thoughts.  Perhaps it is for some people.  And yet, I think that for the ones that it’s most easiest, those people do not seem to struggle with ceaseless thoughts.

Just a few minutes ago, I was looking at some sites I have bookmarked on my laptop.  One of the bookmarks was a search I did to see what Myers Briggs personality type Rich Mullins was.  The eighth site down on the list said, “What Myers-Briggs personality type do serial killers usually have?” (Google “picked” it up as a search result because Herbert Mullin, a serial killer from the 1970s, is in the list.)  So then, I looked to see what personality types this site claimed the killers had.  This led to a few other searches.  (Talk about depressing!)  Among other things, I discovered that one of the Columbine shooters (who took his own life as well as the lives of other innocent people) allegedly had depression and struggled with ceaseless thoughts.

All of this to say, many people who suffer with mental illnesses seem to struggle with racing thoughts and/or with incessant thinking.  And, as I mentioned, the more I learn about mental illness, the more I realize and see certain patterns.  Is there an answer for those of us who suffer and struggle?  I wish I knew.  I only hope and pray that in my deepest, darkest moments, I’m able to keep looking to Jesus.


He is truly THE only way, and it’s actually comforting to me to note that He sweated drops of blood and wept and overturned the tables in the temple.  In other words, His life wasn’t all about “thinking happy thoughts.”

I’m not sure where to give credit for this image.  No copyright infringement is intended. I’m “simply happy” that Jesus is portrayed as having “down” times too.


Smiles and Snow

If someone could truly see inside my mind and tell me what’s going on with all of the feelings and thoughts that I have, it would be a miracle.  God can see it, I know.  Why He chooses to let some of us have minds that are so intricately intwined with relentless, racing thoughts and yet others seem to be able to think about nothing is beyond me. So much of me wishes to share my inner, deepest secrets or at least my journals that follow the paths of my thoughts through the years.  And yet, if I did, what would the outcome be?  Would anyone notice? Would anyone care?  Would it matter if they did or didn’t?

Somehow I know that I’m not the only one to have ever pondered this.  Here’s one of the things I just wrote in my journal,

So much of me wishes to just sell all that I have, get a camper (no matter how small), and travel North America. But, I find the idea daunting and overwhelming… despite the excitement and exhilaration of it.  So, I revert to “hiding” behind a mask or screen… or fake smiles.

And then, I googled “hiding behind a smile,” and (to me) it’s amazing all of the memes, articles, and even songs that have been written about this.

One song’s lyrics stood out (mainly due to Google… how much money do they get for this, anyway?!).

And then a contrasting song which is utterly the complete opposite (and yet not).  (How redundant is that?!)

(Does anyone else see the irony in the fact that the Snow Globe video uses a camper as the main setting?)

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Come Inside My Mind

As I sit here thinking about so many different things at the same time, I’m simultaneously smiling while dealing with a lump in my throat.  I just watched HBO’s 2018 documentary, Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind.  (I found it somewhere online.)  It has quite a lot of sexual innuendos (and not so innuendos) and includes cussing that, as Pam Dawber alluded to in an interview with TV Guide, would have once been banned on Mork and Mindy.

I continually am amazed at how the human mind works.  Watching and learning more about Robin Williams and his life in a short two hour documentary only makes me even more amazed.  My mind led me to my blog after tweeting a Robin Williams quote just a few minutes ago.  And, I began looking at my blogroll on the sidebar.  I saw Marsha’s blog and wanted to see if she’d added anything in the last few years.  (She hasn’t.)  Her descriptions of grief are eerily similar to my own inner dealings with grief even though we have grieved for two totally different reasons and in two (mostly) totally different ways.

How is it that our minds are so very similar and yet so distinctly different?  Christians would say, “Well, it’s God, of course!”  And, as a believer, I’d agree.  Yet, there is still something compelling about our nature that goes beyond the inexplicable and yet simplistic answer that it all goes back to how we were created by God and in His image.

My own mind feels on the verge of something great… some kind of writing or other creation that would somehow connect all of the pieces together.  And yet, I feel it would be just another form of entertainment, not education or discovery.  So, I find myself backing away from it and not wanting to follow my dream or desire to create something significant.

Perhaps I am similar to how Robin Williams was and therefore do not “operate like normal people,” as Cheri Minns, a makeup and hair artist presumably from One Hour Photo., said of him.  (I relate to the other things that she said about him.)  I’m not trying to say that I could ever come close to the ingenuous comedian that Robin Williams was.  I do, however, see quite a few similarities in how I process thoughts and feelings.  I’ve never been addicted to drugs or alcohol, as he allegedly was for a time in his life.  However, I’ve dealt with other kinds of addiction.  And, there are other similarities that I sensed while watching the documentary but also from having seen and heard some of the other things said about him since his passing.


So, as I ask in nearly every blogpost, what’s my point?  My point is that I think we’re all connected… probably in many more ways than most of us might care to admit.  We all desire to love and be loved, and ultimately, that’s really what makes the world go ’round.

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Saturday Giveaways

In many ways, I can’t believe it’s been six months since I wrote a blogpost.  I’m only writing one now to let you know about a few contests/giveaways I entered.  Yes, I get to receive an extra entry into them by telling you about them, but I do not receive any compensation. 🙂

Here’s just a few of the fun giveaways currently out there…

Chat With Vera is hosting the following:

  • Eppie the Elephant (Who Was Allergic to Peanuts), a book written by Livingstone Crouse and illustrated by Steve Brown, Ends 17 September 2018, USA only – Click here to enter.
  • The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible, a Zonderkidz book written by Doris Rikkers and illustrated by Fernando Juarez, Ends 20 September 2018, USA & Canada – Click here to enter.
  • National Geographic Kids ABSOLUTE EXPERT SERIES: Soccer, Dolphins, Volcanoes, & Dinosaurs, two winners will each win two of the books mentioned, Ends 26 September 2018, USA only – Click here to enter.
  • Fit To Be Tied (Bucklin Family Reunion #2), a book by Debby Mayne, two winners will each win a copy of the book, Ends 28 September 2018, USA only – Click here to enter.
  • The Day War Came, two winners of a book written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Rebecca Cobb, Ends 6 October 2018, USA & Canada – Click here to enter.

What I like most about Chat With Vera is that she usually hosts quite a few giveaways with usually very few entries… which makes one have a greater chance of winning! 🙂  So, hop on over and check out her site.


Faith Amidst Euroclydon

Swirling thoughts of uselessness, hopelessness, and despair encircle me to the point of near devastation and yet somehow I keep my head up or rather, I keep moving forward.

Recently, a friend of mine with a very similar personality to my own, texted something to me that made sense of my swirling thoughts and my seeming inability to formulate them in to words.  I usually keep those kinds of words/texts and dwell on them for days, weeks, months, sometimes even years.  However, I also occasionally tend to “clean out closets” in an attempt to not be a hoarder (even of words).  And, unfortunately, this apparently is one of those times.  Otherwise, I’d share with you the exact words this friend used.

As so many of my fellow Christians say, “I went to church on Sunday.”  I’m trying to change my vocabulary and say, “I went to a worship service on Sunday.”  I realize I’m being a bit “nit picky” and yet words and descriptions really do have an impact on how things are viewed.  The discussion regarding how to define the word “church” is better saved for another time.  My point to all of this is to tell of something I heard while at said aforementioned service that relates to my swirling thoughts and to what my friend said about me.

The pastor of this particular group of believers has been working through the book of Acts.  This past Sunday, he indicated that he’s never heard chapter 27 preached quite like he had at the Calvary Chapel 2017 International Senior Pastors & Wives Conference.  He shared the video of Damian Kyle teaching/preaching.  The following is part of what struck me as significant.

Acts 27:20 says this in the second part of the verse,

…all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.

This comes after they faced Euroclydon in verse 14.  Euroclydon is described as:

  • a tempestuous head wind
  • a wind of hurricane force
  • a violent wind
  • a wind of typhoon strength
  • a gale-force wind

It was seen as an infamous northeastern storm, not unlike the winter storm that recently hit the northeastern part of the United States.  Damian Kyle explained that he feels this particular story of a shipwreck was included to show us that even when all hope is lost, God is still there.  He went on to share the famous Footprints in the Sand poem.  I remember truly loving that poem as a child/adolescent and yet now I somehow feel as though it is over-used.  But, my mind is wandering again.  Back to what I considered ‘significant.’

I suppose one must realize that part of the significance comes from what the pastor did/said after the video of Damian Kyle was finished.  The pastor asked for people around the room/auditorium/sanctuary to stand if they’d been through a Euroclydon-type storm and come out “victorious” on the other side.  I remember feeling like I could perhaps half-way stand, and yet… I still so much feel like I’m in the middle of a Euroclydon because of my swirling thoughts that I’ve already mentioned… (numerous times, if you follow my blog at all).  After he had people stand as a “testimony to God’s faithfulness,” he then asked for people to stand who felt as though they were in the midst of a Euroclydon.  I stood, but then I immediately started crying and could not stay on my feet.  My younger daughter was with me, and she held out her hand to mine.  A man I’ve never seen before or since came and placed his hand on my shoulder or arm and asked if I was okay.  I nodded my head amidst my sobs.  (What else could I do or say?)

Why am I sharing this with any of you? I don’t know. I honestly don’t know except to say that somehow, not by my own choosing, God has given me a faith in Him that cannot be explained.  It is this faith that keeps my head above the waters, or as I stated earlier, keeps me moving forward.

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I started looking at pictures that I have saved on my laptop from past years for the month of January: 2017, 2016, 2015; and then when I got to 2014, the pictures were there but were shown in the wrong month and year.  I may not ever be able to determine the exact dates of some of them, but I know when I was in American Samoa.  This one, among many others stuck out to me:


I remember exactly where I was on the island and what happened around the same time that I took this picture.  It was one of two days that we visited this area.  A few others and I ventured out into the ocean, carefully walking on the sharp coral.  Most of the coral in this area was rather drab-looking — mainly gray, dull, and boring.  Additionally, the water was not very deep when the tide was out.  One could walk 50 feet or more from the shore and still be in water only up to one’s calf.  However, I managed to find the edge of the coral, where the ocean floor dropped (or disappeared) like the edge of a canyon.  To this day, I shake my head in amazement.  There is absolutely no way for me to describe in words the discovery I felt I had made.  I literally lied down on the coral (sharp as it was), put my goggles and snorkeling gear on, and peered down into a canyon.  (Some might call it a “drop off” similar to the one depicted in Finding Nemo even though the one I saw probably was not as deep.)  As I sit here 6,000 miles away from that tiny little island in the South Pacific and consider the vastness of the ocean and its unfathomable depth and color, I’m speechless.  (Even Pixar‘s talent of creating believable animation cannot capture the awe-inspiring sight.  It’s almost a joke for me to even mention that.)  I remember wishing I had an underwater camera; and yet even if I had had one, it would be the same as trying to capture the beauty of a sunset through a single lens.  And yet, the feelings I felt far exceed any feelings I’ve ever felt about the most beautiful of sunsets.