Mr Rogers, a legendary TV host, teaches us to explain to our kids, in a time of crisis “To Look For The Helpers”. To show our kids to look for those heroes that run into fires and save people. Helpers who are the first on scene to rescue and bring relief. We look up to these heroes as super heroes, and we honestly believe they are. I really believe that it is a great way to comfort our young ones when it comes to world tragedy. But, it still doesn’t teach our kids how to keep safe, or protect our own hearts when we send our kids out into the world without us.
A dear friend’s son was involved in a horrific car accident yesterday. He is lucky to escape with his life, let alone survive with only a singed eyebrow from the airbag. He’s an adult and she still cannot comprehend how to keep her adult son safe. So, its not just us with young ones who panic, who worry and who look to whatever higher power to keep our little ones safe.
The debate continues. Do we show our kids tragedy and prepare them for what life can bring? Or do we shelter them from danger in the world. How do we balance what is right and what is wrong. Only trial and error can really tell, and evaluating the maturity of the child and what they can handle.
I’ve covered stranger danger with my kids (who are mostly teens now), and the “icky factor” that some people carry that make them nervous. I wonder if it helped or harmed my almost 15 year old son recently. He was with his friends, out at a day at the beach when he was confronted by a gaggle of older boys. About 8 20 year old boys approached him when his instinct was to be cautious. That little voice inside of him said “beware”. I’ve always told my kids that the little voice inside of them is God’s way of teaching us right from wrong (although we are not an overly religious family). The “Lads”, as he described them, assaulted him and stole his precious iPhone he got for Christmas. He was distraught at the vulgarity of these Lads, and gave into their demands. Even more so, he was distraught at himself for not fighting for himself. So, did I teach him right from wrong? Did I teach him how to handle danger? I thought I had, but I never covered this. But, his inner voice told him to give in to them, and perhaps that saved him? I will never know.
I guess in summary I am saying, bad stuff happens in the world. We have to trust that our young people know what is right and what is wrong when it comes to danger. We have to trust our own parenting to teach them. No matter how much or how little exposure to violence or global tragedy will make them prepared for the adventures they go on, when you think they are safe. Maybe this is the time for belief in a higher power than us. My friend, who’s son was in the car accident, believes in angels and that angels watched over her son. So what harm can come if we just step back and have a little faith.
Written by guest writer Alice Slamani. Known as The Laundry Fairy and also Creative Consultant at gFocus Photography (www.gFocusPhotography.com)