I don’t like to watch the news. I don’t like my happy world interrupted by death, political posturing, kidnapping and natural disasters. I don’t like knowing what insurmountable pain surrounds us, all over the world. I’m crazy like that.
Growing up in my suburban home, I simply don’t recall such bad news. I don’t seem to remember such tragedies. Was I shielded from it? Did it simply not exist? Or could it be that I’m a mom now, and more aware of the world in which my children will grow? Regardless, the news isn’t good.
Recently, there have been multiple stories of women being kidnapped outside of clubs and restaurants. Some have ended in death, others in sexual trauma that will no doubt, impact the rest of their lives. And it hits me hard, because it could have been me –
When I was in my 20s, I went out with friends. I danced. I celebrated my birthday with a few cocktails. I danced with guys, I let them buy me a drink or two. I never once worried that I wouldn’t make it home that night; that I’d be kidnapped, raped or murdered. Was I naive? Or lucky?
I think about other times in my life…at 22 years old, running into a convenient store to grab a soda before heading to work, (before the water craze took over) and on the way back to the car, being followed by an older, insanely scary-looking man. Hurriedly, I unlocked my driver side door, shut it, and locked it, just as the man approached and banged on my window, as I peeled out of the parking lot. Could I have been kidnapped? Could that have been where my story ended? Scary….lucky.
So many things, that as I look back, I feel lucky to be alive. And while that may sound dramatic, in today’s society, it’s really not.
As a mom of two teen boys and a little girl, I feel compelled to protect them, to shield them from the news, but I know that’s not the answer. So what is the answer?
The world I grew up in, is clearly not the same. Perhaps with the growth of social media, instant access to news as it’s happening, texting, tweeting…and all things “technical advancement” – the kids are seeing it. They are hearing about it.
As a parent, it’s my job to be honest, to create a safe environment for open discussions. To teach them to respect others, as well as themselves – to be smart, aware and focused. And as my girl gets older, we will talk about safety in numbers, leaving with the girls you came with…the “girl code” and balance all the scary talk with the absolute and sheer joy of being a smart, independent young woman.
And in the meantime, I will cherish every single moment with them. I will let them be kids. I will try to remember how fleeting it is, how soon enough they’ll be gone, and living independently.
I will pray the lessons they’re learning now, will carry them through as they navigate this ever-changing world.