by guest blogger, Deanna Cogdon Miller
It’s hard to believe that it has been ten years since September 11, 2001. Along with everybody else in the world, I spent this weekend remembering that horrific day and continuing to wonder how these acts of violence against innocent people can solve anything. And yet, they continue. Over the past number of years as we’ve watched things like Virginia Tech, the massacre in Norway, Columbine and countless others unfold, it’s nearly impossible as a parent to not think about the kind of world we’re raising our children in.
It’s no wonder we hear so much about ‘helicopter parenting’ – parents who consistently hover so close to their children that they’re never really out of reach. Events in the world and the nasty things we see on the news have left many parents feeling the need to be there to swoop in and save their kids in case anything should happen. Our lives seem to be filled with ‘what ifs’ – what if our child gets hurt, what if someone tries to take them, what if they wander off, what if, what if, what if…
I hate the what ifs. Even though I’d consider myself a pretty positive person, the what ifs still seem to be able to find their way into my brain. I seem to get the big ones – what if they get sick, what if they fall in the lake and I miss it, what if they choke on that grape or what if they get bullied. I’ve learned over the last five years that whenever those what ifs pop into my brain I need to push them to the side and focus on ‘what is’.
And when it comes to the big wide world, ‘what is’ true is that the majority of our kids’ lives are filled with love, not hate. Despite variations in political views, they live in a country, province and city that do their best to take care of their needs and provide programs and opportunities for them to learn, grow and discover. What is true is that caring communities where neighbors, teachers and even crosswalk guards are interested in and supportive of our children do still exist around here. What is also true is that our extended families and friends look out for our kids more than we realize – just as we look out for, love and support theirs.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. Even with all of the violence going on in the world that makes us want to hold onto our kids tighter and tighter, we need to trust in the village around us and loosen our grips just a little bit. Our kids will be stronger, more successful people because of it and in the end, they may just change the world.
Deanna lives in Dartmouth with her husband and three children. When she's not reading stories, dancing to ABBA or burping a baby, she works in communications for Bell Aliant.