With the recent discovery of Jaycee Lee Dugard I have to wonder if I can keep my kids safe from the darkness that lurks behind every corner. The frequency of discovered abducted children who are hidden away from the world for the pleasure of their captors is alarming. The reasons these children stay are hard to fathom and understand by those who do not know the details. As parents we teach, train, and educate our children, however, can we protect them from the shadows we don't understand ourselves?
Most of us are quick to judge and criticize others, always looking for the mistakes and ignoring the right choices parents make. We all gossip and when we do we rarely talk about the positive aspects of others. We want to regale the mistakes our peers make and downplay their successes. We want to rant, complain, and give advice - we don't want solutions to our problems we want to win the complaint contest, recognition, and rationalization of our fears. After all, is there any fear greater than loss?
The North American voter is plagued by fear, it effects every decision we make and what we believe to be truth. We see danger for our children everywhere we look, under every rock, around every corner and as a result we are raising a generation of fearful adults. Children no longer feel safe playing outside, what this will do in the long run is yet to be seen. I had a neighbour who saw danger in everything, she was constantly telling her girls, "danger danger." I am sure she viewed me as an unfit parent because I let my son get cuts and bruises to learn caution on his own. They moved away so I don't know if the girls see danger in every concrete stair, in every height, or every dog. I do know my son is cautious and knows his limitations without me telling him. I've always let him make choices and learn lessons from natural consequences, when not life threatening.
One lesson I don't want him learning on his own is how to stay safe from pedophiles and abductors. Instead of letting him learn safe limits through experience, I use small limitations and hypothetical situations to help him problem solve. I ask him questions about what he'd do in certain scenarios and help him come up with viable solutions. I ensure he knows which houses are safe, what numbers to call, and more importantly what his limitations are. Like every child most of his answers are fantasy and unrealistic. Its important he realize that he can't beat up an adult, he can and should try but his size makes it impossible that he'll succeed. He needs to know what to yell out, where to go, how to stay safe, and how to not be chosen as a target.
I am not naive, I know that regardless of what I do there is still a chance that he could get hurt in this dangerous world, so I pray. I pray that God would send his angels to surround my children and wrap their wings around them keeping them safe. There are lots of websites that tell parents how to keep their kids safe, all of them agree that communication is key to keeping kids safe. The worst thing a parent can fear is talking to their child about the hard topics, the uncomfortable topics, the taboo topics.