There is nothing more precious to a parent than a child, and nothing more important to our future than the safety of our children.William J. Clinton
The beginning of a school year holds many “drills” to practice for safety situations. We have fire drills, tornado drills, and lock down drills. Our society has come to accept and understand the fire and tornado drills. I imagine people are more accepting of these as they seem like uncontrollable situations for us to solve. Talk about a lock down drill with a parent and you are likely to get a very passionate and emotional response.
Being an administrator of an early childhood program, I understand the need for the practice. Practice is what can make us proficient in a real life situation. On the flip side, I have sat in a dark room with a three year old child who asks,”Is this how we hide from the bad guys?” As a mom, my heart broke. I was sad to realize that a three year old child understood the purpose of a lock down.
The world has become a complicated place to raise children. In the school setting, teachers and staff always have safety at the front of their minds as they should. It requires those of us in decision making positions to be constantly evaluating the safety plan. People in the world of education take the safety of children seriously and work diligently to provide a safe environment to our students.
The unfortunate reality for parents is that there are many places that are now experiencing violence where safety plans are not a priority. How do we deal with daily life? Trips to Walmart, festivals, and places we’ve felt safe no longer hold the same level of comfort as we have felt in the past. The challenge before us is to raise our children so they are not fearful of everything. How can we do that?
To begin, we live our lives without fear. We still hold hands when crossing the street. We still teach our children to look both ways while crossing the street and to wear a helmet while biking. We teach them about their inner radar and stranger danger. We teach them about the many dangers in life (HELLO-driving a car!!). At the same time, we teach them about the wonderful experiences of life. Meeting a new friend at the park. The magic of live music under the stars. The thrill of Disney World. What we focus on is what grows in our lives. Focus on the good. Teach about the bad. Like every other parenting situation, do the best you can. Your best is enough.