April 18, 2013

Raising Kids In This Scary World

This weeks tragedy at the Boston Marathon has filled me with so many emotions.  It's made me realize that no matter how hard I try to hide from the ugly it's out there, it's everywhere.  I try to live in a place of happiness.  Call me naive but I like to see the good in humanity and for the most part we, my family, are surrounded by goodness. But then something like this happens and it shakes you to the core.  It makes you question everything, God included.

Even more disturbing is the fact that my child{ren} will grow up in a world full of hate, no matter how much I try to shelter them from it.

Right now Kendall knows no evil.  Sure she's had her run in with the occasional bully at the playground but she still lives in a bubble where life is good and happy.  She wakes up with hope and joy and nothing but positivity in her heart.  She's ignorant to things like school shootings, marathon pipe bombs and child molestation.  But that won't always be the case and that scares the shit out of me.

Growing up I can remember my parents being the more strict ones out of my group of friends.  I had an earlier curfew for more years, I wasn't allowed riding in cars with teenagers {for a very long time}, I couldn't do a sleepover two consecutive nights in a row and I certainly wasn't allowed coming and going as I pleased or saying words like "hate" let alone any other four-letter-words.

Of course, at the time, I  was all "OMG you guys, you are so embarrassing!  What's another hour on my curfew?  Why can't I go to Chicago with my two guy friends?  Why do you need to talk to their parents?  It's just a mile down the road, why can't I ride with Kelly?"  I remember using the words "cut the cord" when I finally turned 18, an adult.  And just like that, I know why.

As a parent you just want to keep you kid{s} safe from everything.  That's what my parents were trying their damnedest to do.

I witnessed Kendall, for the first time, being genuinely kind and helpful to her friend at the library this morning.  She's a little bit older and, therefore, smarter and she was helping him with a puzzle he couldn't quite figure out. When he started throwing the pieces she said, "We don't do that, that's not nice." And then helped him find them and picked up the pieces.  It was a moment I hope I never forget and almost brought me to tears, right there in the middle of the library playroom.

I want her to always have this kind, helpful heart.  I don't want her to be hardened by the cruel world that we live in or, even worse, live in fear.  But I want her to be aware.  Do you know what a fine balance that is?

As we approach preschool years I find my mind flooded with thoughts about her being out of my control for the first time in her life.  She's always been entrusted with family members whenever she's been without Jimmy or myself and for that I am always thankful.  But now she will be in the hands of a "stranger" for 4 hours a week and, quite frankly, that scares me to death.

I think about the 20/20 and Dateline segments about stranger danger and the "stranger" set up to lure kids into their car with a puppy.  Do you know 9 out of 10 kids would approach said stranger?  Kendall would be in that majority, she would.   I think about how I need to tell her how no one is allowed to touch her privates except mommy and daddy {or grandparents in those situations} to help her go potty.  I even had a terrible, terrible dream, and I can't even go there right now.  But let's just say my freak is freaked.

And then the Boston Marathon thing happened and it shook me to my core.  Evil is all around us and no matter what I do to prepare her for the outside world, there is nothing, nothing I can do to protect her from acts like this.  Something as simple as going to a movie has been ruined.  The innocence and safety of something so mundane as going to school has been taken away.  As a parent I don't know that I will ever feel safe when she {and James} are out of my control.

And then, in such a tragic time you also see the good in people.  People who will literally take the shirt off their back to provide a live-saving device for a complete stranger.  And that's when you know it's Him.  God is there and he still exists in people.

I'm not sure where we go from here.  As an individual, as a nation, as a mother I'm still lost.  I still don't know what to do, what can we do?  How can we protect our innocent babies, make them aware of dangerous situations while not scaring them?  It's such a fine line and I can only hope and pray that I do right by my child{ren} and that God will take care of the rest.


  1. I'm struggling with the same fine balance. It's so difficult and I dont know what to do either. Like you said, simple fun things are now ruined or laced with fear because you truly never know what could happen...but at the same time you can't live your life in fear because that's not truly living. I'm praying about it and trusting in God that he's got this.

  2. I just hit publish on the events of last night in that small Texas town. The world is so unpredictable and prior to having a daughter I wouldn't have worried about the future so, but now it is all I think about. I too see the presence of God in the horrible events. I hope that my daughter will show kindness too (always) but especially at such a young age. You are doing a good job momma -

  3. It's so true...no matter what we do, evil is out there. I get by realizing that things could be A LOT worse. There are so many other countries who live in daily fear of what happened on Monday. Though no less traumatic, at least we don't wake up every morning with the expectation that something horrible is going to happen. I know it's not reassuring...I worry about the same things you do and I don't even have kids yet. I feel the best we can do is focus on the positive...that for every bad person out there, there is a Kendall guiding them and telling them it's wrong and how to be nice. Good people are all around us and ultimately, that is what will prevail. It might not always be the best world to live in, but humanity is always around.

  4. You know, I have been thinking about this a lot because L is getting old enough to hear things and see the news if we have it on and gets it. But I realized that there has always been evil in the world. Oklahoma City. The bombings in the 90's at the World Trade Center. The unibomber. I could go on and on. The reality is that there is MUCH more good in this world than evil and I want my kids to know that and not be scared all the time.

  5. So true. I think about Sandy Hook every single day I drop Kendall off at daycare. I am already thinking of how I will avoid her riding a school bus EVER.
    The only thing we can do is trust in God. I never realized how much I would worry about another person until I became a mom. I can remember being a teenager and having no fear. Like walking to my car in a dark parking lot. I would never do that now or atleast without talking to someone on my cell phone. It's crazy how your perspective on the world changes as you get older and become a parent.

  6. I don't think any of us have the answers. But I do know we have to let them out of our protective bubble. We can't just sit at home. We have to pray. Pray that God is with us and leading our hearts and minds when we pick preschools.

  7. Tears falling! Well said! I worry every single day. All we can do is fight for our children. Brace yourself now because they are going to say "I hate you", "this isn't fair", and the list goes on, when you aren't giving in to what they want. I know have started to set myself up for it now so I am not disappointed for the first time I hear it. I will always reassure him (and future children) that I am only doing this for his safety and he will understand when he gets older. Although I won't completely shield him from the madness, I will only tell him what I believe someone his age needs to know.

    Since Carter has started school I have sat Carter down and I give him the light end of the story (when something bad happens), making sure not to go into to much detail to take away from his happy world. But I also let him know that he has to always be watching out because there are bad people out there and since we don't know who they are we are not to talk to strangers/people we don't. And we for sure to never ever approach a person we don't know trying to give them something such as a puppy, candy, toys, etc.

    I am currently in fight with our school board about the safety of our children as we speak, this comes only months after the Sandy Hook shooting. They have decided that since our state is so poor we can no longer afford to bus the children to babysitters/daycares/grandparents/friends for child care. They are implimenting the home to school and school to home policy ONLY. This leaves a lot of us (rural parents) scared for the safety of our children. They are telling us it's ok to drop our children off at home by theirselves starting at the age of 7, when our state law says nothing under the age of 14. As if they did not even take in consideration the state laws of leaving a child home alone, the child predators that are out there, the roads they will be letting our children off the bus on and the list goes on. A group of parents, including me, have formed a group to fight this and we will will go as high up as we can to get this changed. When did the safety of our children, or anyone for that matter, become a minor concern for this world we live in. It should be one of the bigget concerns we have, they are our future.

    Then to touch on the tragety of this week.. when will this madness end? When can we as American just enjoy going to a park, the movies, or a run without fearing something bad is just around the corner? What can we as parents do to change this except to shelter our children from it as long as we can, but in the back of our mind not knowing if we are doing the right thing or not, because they will find out the "real world" someday. And wouldn't you rather that someday be from you then on there own or when something bad happens to them.

  8. Great post! And it's so true. The tragedies that have been happening more frequently are so heartbreaking. It scares me to think that my child{ren} will grow up in this crazy world! I couldn't have said it better! Love this post!

  9. It is a scary world "out there"! "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'"- Mr. Rogers. And just think- Kendall will be one of the people helping:)

  10. I am in the same place. I can't help but think about what a terrible world we are living in now and the fact that we have to raise our innocent children in it. My parents were more strict with me growing up as well and now I know why. The fact that Kendall already has that helping attitude says a lot about her and about you as a mother and we can only hope she will never grow out of it and it will help her see the good.

  11. I have 3 children and 2 of them are still very small. My other is a teenager. I have these same fears but I try to remember that these children aren't really mine. They belong to God and no matter what I try to do to protect them, it's in his hands.

  12. We pray on the way to preschool every morning. And you know what sucks? I have to pray, everyday for things that I never once *thought* I'd have to. After Sandy Hook--it's all "in the face of scary situations, let her teachers be wise & know what to do, etc--" and mainly, mainly- for my mom heart to be able to let go. Ultimately, we have no control. You should read Glennon's post about this...momastery.com, check it out. So good. Sigh.

  13. Raising a child these days is hard. I admit, I pray every single morning as I put my two big kids on the bus. Most days I just want to put them in a bubble and keep them there forever, but we can't stop living. My biggest goal is to raise my kids to be GOOD, compassionate, responsible, loving human beings. If I can accomplish that, then I've done my job.