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