Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A Safe Place For Our Children

I remember it like it was just yesterday, playing in the yard as a child with my brother. Barbie and G.I. Joe colliding  to save the day. Matchbox cars driving through dirt and mud. Magnifying glasses used to burn Japanese beetles. In the winter we built snow  forts. We built them high, made tunnels, and pretended it was our home. We played for hours on end never caring to spend time in the house. My parents wouldn't have let us anyway, if it was light and not freezing out we were expected to play outside. My mother could always just peek out the window to check on us. The echo's of our laughter and play could fill the air without much adult supervision. We were free, we were exploring, we were playing as children should, yet most of all...we were safe.

My oldest son,Chase, is almost five (next month!! Not sure how the hell that is even possible!) This kid loves to be outside. He loves to be active, to explore and be the boy he is. Dirt, stones, acorns, tree branches and worms are fascinating to him. His little mind is full of wonder and imagination. We are fortunate to live in a place where there are children around his age right next door and behind our house. Chase loves his buddies and the second he sees them outside he wants to be right there with them. I trust him and I know that he can be outside without direct supervision. I know he won't go near the road or roam off. He just wants to play. I trust him, but I don't trust the world in which he lives in.



It is the same thing when we go visit my folks. They live in a safe neighborhood with a fenced in yard. It's the same yard I played in growing up. I have to admit I have a hard time letting my son outside without me being right there. I get anxious and nervous, peering out the window to watch his little self enjoying the same things I did at his age. It's not the same. It is not the same world it was when I was growing up. What is safe anymore? What has this world turned into for our children?

I fear leaving my kids each time I do. The fear starts as mommy guilt, goes to "What if something happens to them", to "What if something happen to me?" and "What if someone hurts them?" That feeling of safety is no longer there for our children. It is filled with worry and dread. Trust has been thrown out the door and belief in kindness has been replaced with fear of our fellow human beings. It is utterly sad for me that my children will never be safe the way I was.

School use to be a safe place to be. I don't have any memories of shootings in schools the way our children will. It is unpredictable. It is her child, his child, and maybe even my child. No parent raises a child to be a killer, yet there are so many shootings involving our youth. None of those parents expect it or deserve it. It causes pain and grief for everyone. My heart aches for the parent that loses their child to such senselessness. I cannot even fathom the feeling those parents have when they receive word that their child will not be coming home. I hope to have to never experience what that pain is. I hope even more that my children never have to witness evil the way so many of our youth have.

It hurts my heart in a way that makes it difficult to even put into words. I wish my children could have the youth I once had. I want them to be able to explore, play and imagine without so many restrictions. Then comes the harsh reality that I cannot protect them from all of these evils. I cannot stop any of this from happening. I also cannot and will not stop them from living. I know how important it is for my children to BE CHILDREN! It's that simple yet so complicated all at once. I can't put my children in a bubble, and I wouldn't. They deserve to have what we did. They need to be able to experience life for all the wonderful things that it is.

I want a safe place for my children, for our children. I want a place without pain, sadness, grief and evil. That safety has to come from within the walls of our homes. It starts each morning as we get them up and every night as we kiss them before bed. It is in our arms as we hold them tight. It is in our words when we tell them we love them.

We cannot stop what goes on outside our homes. What we can do is practice acts of kindness. We can talk to our children and teach them about the power of love. We can teach them what peace is. It is not simple nor can just one person create safety for our children. It takes an army of us to protect our children: It's teachers, law enforcement and other parents; It is coaches, mentors and friends. I am thankful for the tribe which helps to raise and teach my children. I need them, you need them and our children need them.


This post is dedicated to the 20 young souls of Sandy Brook and their teachers, who left this world three years ago yesterday. May their memory bring comfort, peace and strength to their loved ones.




12 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank You! I wish I could protect them even when I am not there.

      Delete
  2. So heartbreaking that this is the kind of world we live in now </3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, it really hurts my heart. As parents we live with so much more fear than ours did.

      Delete
  3. The balance between safety and freedom to explore is a trying one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really is. I want my children to be able to explore and discover, and I also want them to be safe. It's a shame it has to be such a struggle.

      Delete
  4. This is beautiful. The world has become so frightening, although I suppose it was always that way, but the news of tragedy wasn't so omnipresent through social media and 24/7 coverage. It's hard to hear about school shootings and ever feel safe putting one's kids on a school bus. Sometimes I want to keep my kids here in our home 24/7, but I know that's no way to live. Thanks for sharing this thoughtful post at the Manic Mondays blog hop.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for enjoying and featuring this post Meredith. It was one that tugged at my heart strings when writing it. It is something my husband and I discuss and I just wish I could protect them. I also know they need to spread their wings. I just pray the world goes easy on them.

      Delete
  5. You took the words right out my mouth. Every time I watch the news, fear always creeps up at the back of mind and all the what ifs starts--what if something happens in there, what if someone harms us, what if I can't do anything to stop them? It's scary to think about, and it's a shame that that's the world we live in.

    I know it's more of a struggle now than when I was growing up, but you're right: it starts in the home. It's instilling love and kindness to our children and teaching them that hate doesn't banish hate, it just multiplies it. Living our lives despite the fear and teaching our children these values early on will help us through.

    Thanks for a beautiful post, Crystal. Glad I found you on Mommy AtoZ today :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so thrilled you enjoyed this post Maria! We just have to love them, guide them, teach them and pray that kindness and peace surrounds them.

      Delete
  6. I know exactly what you mean. My brother and I played outside all day when we visited our dad in the country; well, back with mom in the city, not so much. And now as a parent, my daughter was free to play in the country when we lived abroad, but not so much now that we're back home in the States. Not even close. It's no easy thing balancing kindness and fear as a parent, but it's necessary, isn't it? -Elle C. Mayberry

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is amazing how things have changed Elle. I wonder just how much different it will be for our children. This is one of those parenting things that no one can prepare you for. Yes, balancing both is necessary!!

      Delete