Keeping Them in the Dark?

I’m a worrier by nature.  Can’t help it.  Always have been.  So deal with it… I know I have to and so does everyone around me.  As a kid growing up, I remember every time Peter Jennings broke into Happy Days with a “Special News Bulletin” I was sure it was due to imminent Armageddon.  The Soviets were surely pointing nukes our way or maybe Aliens had just blown up Tokyo, London and New York.

When the Shorties came along, I didn’t want them to experience the shroud of worry that hung around my youth.  So I thought it was better to just keep the bad news from them.  No need to have CNN on in the background, lets just keep things light and airy.  Now they are venturing into the world and there are more and more people around them, introducing, sharing and growing their circle of influence.  Not to mention the fact that they are wildly unprepared for the millions of scary things that could befall them on any given day.  It never occurred to me that I would one day need to warn them of the dangers that could befall us at any moment.

I remember the day #1 came home from Kindergarten and told me about all the various drills they learned at school.  The usual – fire drill (“We all line up and go outside.  We DON’T run!”), earthquake (“We make turtles and cover our heads with our hands” and finally the Code Red.  “What’s that?” I asked.

“Oh, that’s when we close all the blinds and the teacher locks the door and turns off the lights and we have to be quiet.”

I nearly fainted from the grave reality of what a Code Red actually was.  This is what it is to be a kid in 2014.

That was the day that I realized that I had done a shitty job of preparing my kid for just how scary and messed up this world really is.  Now what do I do?

We had a friend over for dinner the other night and he was recounting the story of having the news on and his son hearing about a rather horrific murder/ suicide involving a dad and his two kids.  Our friend M was so upset asking how do you help a kid un-hear something like that?  You can’t erase that kind of information.  It imbeds into kids and becomes part of their psyche.  Or it rolls in one ear and out the other leaving no impression at all?  Tough to know what will stick but you never know and who wants to play Russian Roulette with which scary stories will live with them forever.

Its a fine line of keeping their optimism alive in hopes they can carry the future out of the constant brink of calamity that we seem to live in.  But at the same time teaching them street smarts so they can stay safe.  I don’t know what the answer is, other than to just do our best.  Its all we can do really.

PS – I realize that this topic is a departure from all the travel, fashion and nonsense I usually write about.  But its my blog, so I can do whatever I want, right?



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