As a child I was allowed to walk several blocks to play in a local park, or go to the skating rink. As a parent, I allowed my children to walk to the school, and walk down the road to play in the playground. Now parents are finding themselves being arrested for doing this. Have we become so afraid and jaded that we have digressed this far, this fast? Are we living a life of fear?
What brought about this change in thinking? Was it 911, or too many movies and television shows that show pedophiles and abductions? We are becoming a world living in fear of our neighbors and our neighborhoods.
I don’t think there are any more mentally unstable people in the world today than there were 40 years ago. I think we are just more aware of it, and it scares the hell out of us. Do we have to continue living a life of fear, or is there something we can do to make us feel a bit safer?
I realize that we live in a time when we are too isolated in our personal lives, but much more open in our social media lives. Perhaps it’s time to close the computer and go meet your neighbors. When we felt safer we knew our neighbors. Their children played at our home, and I felt safe sending my children there. I trusted them, and they trusted us to take care of their young ones. We socialized – played cards, sat out on the deck and talked, etc. Now we nod as we pass them in our car or when we are in our yards, but we don’t know them as people.
When my husband and I were raising our children on military bases we knew our neighbors because we depended on each other when our spouses were deployed. We emotionally supported each other when they were low on food, when they needed a babysitter, and when they just needed a shoulder to cry on or were feeling lonely. It was a whole different world, but much safer.
Are we destined to live in bubbles – overprotecting our children so they can’t ride their bicycles in the neighborhood, or to a friend’s house? Are parents who allow their children “free range” actually being bad parents, or just trying to teach their children that living in fear holds us back, and learning to become independent is a natural part of life?
We taught our children about not talking to strangers. We taught them to run the other way, and yell loudly when they were in fear. There were neighborhood homes that had signs in the window that they could go to if they were feeling frightened. “Stranger Danger” was taught at home and at school. The better prepared they were, and the more they learned about safety, the better they felt – and the better we felt about letting them explore.
Yes, parents need to be more careful who they trust, but most people are trustworthy. If you get to know your neighbors you can get a pretty good feel about who is trustworthy.
We can’t suppress our children from growing up, and we can’t live our lives in fear. Do you have any solutions? Let’s start a discussion.
#strangerdanger #educatechildrenonsafety #livinginfear #livingalifeoffear #neighborhoodsafety