My seven-year-old daughter came up to me the other day to share her beautiful Lego creation. She went on to explain it to me, “Mom I built a church. Here are all the people inside the church praying and outside are the security guards.” The comment made me smile, but also brought to mind a reality that I had not even considered. My daughter saw the security guards as a normal piece of the church. We fear for our children’s future and what the world will become, but when you think about it, didn’t our parents have that same sense of fear for us as we grew up, and likely their parents before that?
When I was growing up, our biggest fear walking to school was getting caught by the old man as we crossed through his yard. We rarely locked the house or car doors. At the same time, drugs were becoming a little more common and we were being taught to “Just Say No” and to recognize “Stranger Danger”. I understand that I grew up in a small town, so this may not be typical for others in my generation, but the general idea is that I felt safe while I am sure my mom was thinking, “What has this world come to?”
I don’t allow my children to play in the front yard when I am not home. My 12-year-old daughter is only able to walk the six blocks home from school when she is with friends and she must call me before she leaves. Even then, I worry that she will not arrive safely. As I sit and worry about all of this, my children remain unfazed.
I know that as children we are definitely care-free and when we become parents, our children’s safety is at the forefront of our mind. Have you ever thought that maybe it is also in the perspective? Our children don’t know anything different than to keep the doors locked at all times, not to play in the front yard without adult supervision and definitely not to walk across town to a friend’s house. They see security personnel at church, school, events and the malls as providing safety and not as the possibility of a threat. I think we can all agree that times are changing and seem very scary, but each generation grows up in the world as it is and has no reference point for the way it used to be. When our kids grow up, they will likely encounter the same fears we – and generations of parents before us – have.