Is it enough for us to tell our children that everything is going to be ok?
The parents that allowed their children to attend the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester believed that they were going to be fine. They had plans for the following day, week, month, year. Never once thinking that their future would be ripped apart. Shattered by an act of cowardice that would leave a chasm in their families so large that it will be felt forever.
My nine-year-old is inching more and more towards independence every day. Just recently my husband and I allowed him to attend an event in a large stadium without us. It was the first time that he had ever attended anything without his parents around. I thought I covered all of my bases making certain that he had our phone numbers, address, and money. I took his picture before he left. I also took a picture of the license plate on the car of our family friends that he was spending the evening with. Lastly, I asked that they send a photo when they got there. The two hours that he was away were the longest of my life, and I wore a groove in the floor from pacing, only stopping to look at my phone to check the time. Needless to say, he arrived home safe, exhausted, and thankful that we had allowed him an evening out with his friends.
I thought I had prepared him for everything. I had covered all of my bases and done everything that a parent could possibly do to ensure that he arrived safely back home. It’s a false sense of security because I am willing to bet that every one of those children’s parents did the same.
How do we protect our children from the dangers that we can’t see?
How do we keep away the monster under the bed that is waiting to steal our children’s innocence?
How do we avoid the things that attempt to steal our sense of security?
I ask these questions because I honestly don’t know. I desperately want to know as a parent how I shield my children from the horrors that I know exist.
This world is a beautiful place. The beauty can be found in so many places, things, and yes, even people. The truth is, as a parent that is what I focus on with my children. Yes, it may be naïve, but I too have become enchanted with the security of the world that we have created for our family. It is comforting, it is safe, and it is ours.
I know that soon enough they will know the harsh reality of the world. They will know that not everyone is kind, they will know that not all children are safe, and they will know that not all parents can protect their children from the monster under the bed. For now, I will show them all of the beauty.