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Monday, July 23, 2012

Letting your kids go in these crazy times.

Is the world crazier or is that just my perception of things?  I’m honestly not sure.

 We are inundated every day with story after story about someone else being killed.  One day I wake up and I read in the paper that someone has bombed a bus full of innocent tourists and a few days later I read that a man has walked into a movie theatre and killed and wounded more innocent people for no apparent reason.  A very normal looking man.  A man I bet my kids, though I tell them over and over again not to, would talk to.  And it’s not just these two incidents.  They are just on my mind because they have happened recently.

So I have to ask again, is the world more dangerous now than it used to be?  Sometimes I think it is, but sometimes I wonder if we are just better informed of all the horrific things that occur since most horrific acts are played out instantly on television and all the avenues of social media.

My point of all this is that whatever the answer, be it the world is more dangerous or it really isn’t, I perceive it as more dangerous, and I sometimes have a hard time letting my children spread their wings because of my perception.

When I was growing up I would play outside in the woods all day long.  I would ride my bike all over creation, and I would walk to school through the woods where I crossed a rickety log over a flowing stream.  On Saturdays, if I was good, my mom would let me walk the six or seven blocks to the Zippy Mart where I would purchase a soft drink and whatever candy my two dollars would buy. 

Now I am from a small town, where you can’t do anything without someone knowing it, but still small towns have bad people too.

Now, I live in a much bigger city, and when my kids ask me to go outside ON OUR STREET and play, my first instinct is to say NO!  Don’t they know there are tons of crazy people populating our world and it is my job to keep them safe?

I sometimes wish they would stay indoors and play with their hundreds of toys we have bought them rather than stressing me out by asking me if they can go outside.  But they ask, and since I’m not yet certifiable, I know I have to let them go.

I take a deep breath, put on my big girl panties, ask the armed guard at our front door to move, and let them out into the big, bad world.  Just joking about the armed guard.  I do check on them continuously, and if I can’t see them I do immediately go outside and knock on all our neighbors houses with kids until I find my kids, but I do let them go, despite how anxious it can sometimes make me feel. 

I wonder if our parents felt this way and have just forgotten?  I asked my mom and she said she was never worried.  Ah, to be so carefree!  I like being aware of the world and what is going on in it, but sometimes I wonder if are not just a little too informed.

So does anyone else feel like me? Do you sometimes have a hard time letting your kids spread their wings because of the scariness of our crazy world? I’d love to know I’m not alone, and I would love to hear how you deal with these worries.

Julie Johnstone, The Marchioness of Mayhem


  1. I don't think the world is more dangerous...I just think the media has to have something to report, and so every little thing is out there in the news. Every night, we're bombarded with car accidents, robberies, gang violence, fights at school, and yes...shooters in movie theaters. There are just as many crazy people out there as there always have been. There have always been crimes. There have always been murderers and people who will do horrific things to others--to people who are innocent. That hasn't changed. The only thing that has changed is how much it is brought before us, and how quickly we learn about these things.

    I tend to not watch the news. And because I don't watch it, I am not as worried about things I can't control as a number of other people I know. If a man has a psychotic break and decides to come into a movie theater where I'm watching a movie and shoot people, well, that happens. I can't change that, and worrying about it happening isn't going to make it more or less likely to happen. So I try not to expose myself to those things that would make me worry, at least not more than I have to.

    1. Good points! I need to shrug it off more and say if it's going to happen I can't change that!

  2. Julie ~ I have definitely asked myself these questions over the years. My son was just a few months old when the massacre at Columbine happened. The idea of sending that tiny infant off into the scary world of public schools around kids whose families might not give them the same love and attention BUT an access to firearms kept me up at night.

    But in the years since, I've become a lot more zen (no matter what the rest of you think of me. LOL) I tend to agree with Catherine. I think we're just more aware of the bad things these days and I think the media jumps on things and inundates us with every new detail, keeping all of the bad stuff in the forefront of our minds.

    There have always been bad people who have done bad things to innocent people. But letting my fear (justified or unjustified) keep me locked up in my house hurts me in the end, and I'm just not willing to do that. :)

    1. Ava,

      I absolutely agree with you and Catherine. It's interesting to me thought that you don't hear near as much about the good things people do. What is the old news saying? Isn't it sex and violence sell.

  3. It's interesting that you blogged about this today. Just yesterday I was having breakfast with my mom, mother-in-law, and daughter. The news was on the television, and it was one bad thing after another. I finally made the comment this was the reason I never watched the news. It makes you think the world is nothing but bad stuff waiting to pounce. My mom's take is that it's good to know what can happen. I agree and disagree. Yes, it's good to be wise to the fact there are bad people out there. Trust your gut and don't be blindly trusting. But on the other hand, a life of anxiety and fear is not a life to me.

    I allow my kids some freedoms, such as playing outside in our yard with a friend. No one can come within ten feet of our yard without the dog barking like crazy. We know our neighbors and we all watch out for each others' kids. But it has taken me a long time to allow my kids out of my sight. My son is fourteen and my daughter is nine. And there are some things I'm still not ready to let them do, such as summer camp. :D

    1. I think we worry more as mothers! Though I have let my oldest go to camp. LOL!

  4. I asked myself this very question the other day but I tend to agree that you can't dwell on it. I don't times have gotten more dangerous though as history will tell you that people do horrifying things to each other, especially in wartime. It's hard to swallow sometimes but I also think the bad tends to make the good times really that much more precious. As a mother I worry all the time and this one seemed to affect me a little more some of the other tragedies we've seen lately. Possibly because we were just at the movie theater last week.

    But I do tend to turn the news off for the most part like the others. Although I will admit to having been glued to the TV this weekend. But normally I only catch it once a day at five o'clock for an hour. I don't let myself watch more than that because it is depressing sometimes.

    But no you're not alone when you think these things. Sometimes life takes a horrible chunk out of self confidence and it gets scary. But we have to learn to deal with it and crawl out of our safe zones. Otherwise we might miss out on some wonderful things.

    My advice is take a break from the news for a bit. Come back to it in a day or so. Spend some time with the kiddos and hug them tight. That always makes me feel better. We're headed out for ice cream tonight to get me out of the house. Sounds like a good plan to me. Take care, Julie!

    1. Thanks for the advice, Suzie. Have fun at the movies!