Apr 24

Are We Living a Life of Fear?

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 safeneighborhoodmedia 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

Apr 20

Whatever Happened to Patriotism?

I have been reading several versions of a story about a white woman being handcuffed by police after stealing a flag during a protest at Valdosta State University in Georgia. The more I read the angrier I get.

I agree that ethnic groups are being unfairly selected out for prosecution and abuse by officials, and that the woman who stole the flag was white and did not get arrested for theft, but the group she took the flag from did not press charges. That is not the issue I wish to address at this time. What ticks me off is that not one of the people commenting made a point of the fact the protesters were walking on the flag!

flagI realize that I am a baby boomer, and things have changed, but have we come that far? Whatever happened to patriotism, and respect for our country and it’s symbols? We are given the right to protest by the Constitution. It does say you can exercise your right to free speech, and it does not detail how, but NOWHERE in the 1st Amendment does it say you can desecrate the flag during your protest.

I don’t believe our forefathers ever envisioned stomping on the flag they so gallantly fought for as a way to exhibit free speech. I don’t believe the soldiers who have fought, and many who have died, would have ever entertained the thought anyone wanting to desecrate the very flag they had fought to protect.

As a widow of a Marine and Vietnam veteran, and having lived on military bases for many years while raising our children, I look at this type of protest as a kick in the face to every man and woman, of every race and religion, who wore the uniform of an American soldier. The American flag is not the symbol of the “white man,” it is the symbol of what American is all about – all races, gender, religion and ethnic background.

I look back at the renewed patriotism after 911 – where every American came together as a nation to mourn what happened in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. It was patriotism at it’s best. Then, however, it suddenly turned to hatred for another race and religion – for people who were different from most of us, even though they too may be Americans. The faces of bigotry and segregation have risen, and we are being returned to a time where hatred ruled the land.

The greatest thing about America is that we ARE the melting pot of the world. We have taken in people from all countries, with different religious backgrounds, to enhance us as a nation.

The pilgrims came here because of religious persecution – although they too were bigoted against others who did not believe as they did. Can we not grow as a nation, to be accepting of others and their diversity? We all need to learn about what we don’t understand. Education makes us stronger, ignorance weakens us.

Using the American flag as a stomping mat because you protest white Americans having control is misplacing your anger. Use your power to make positive change – like getting out the vote. People only take power because we allow them to. Love your country, or find another you like better. Make the changes from within – but don’t trample over the ones who have done their part in trying to make this nation one everyone wants to come to.

Raise the flag, and stomp out those who try to keep control by suppression. That’s patriotism.

 

#patriotism #flag #Americanflag #desecrationofAmericanFlag #donttredonflag