Thursday, January 17, 2013

Culture & Childrens Fear

When I was a kid in school, not much frightened me. Well, other than seeing a fire safety video in 3rd grade and not being able to sleep for a week, worried that our house might burn down. Life was pretty comfortable and my parents created a home that made me feel very secure. We walked or rode bikes everywhere as kids in our small hometown. We did not lock our cars or the front door to our house. Many times I remember being thankful for living in a modern age and not having to worry about the rough and tumble pioneering days with cowboys and Indians.

Fast forward 40 years... this is a text I received from my daughter last week, "Mom, there's a gang coming to school to shoot, can u pick me up ASAP?" Needless to say, I dropped everything and headed to the high school. I signed in, chatted with the office staff and found out that my daughter's text was caused by a Facebook post. This post created a social media "fear frenzy" at the high school and many parents were picking up their kids. There was supposedly nothing behind it; however, because of the post and an earlier neighborhood shooting that week, the school had a huge police presence.

I think a lot about how life has changed for kids growing up in this world. My daughter's inner city public school fears are much different than mine were growing up in rural central Illinois. So, I ponder... How do I, or we, work together to create a different world in which all of our children flourish and have a hope for the future without being gripped by the fear of violence?

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