Thursday, December 20, 2012


Somehow I've been wondering a lot lately about something that perhaps shouldn't really matter to me right now.  How can we protect our children without being overbearing?  I don't have any kids yet, but one day I certainly hope to, and lately I've been worried about how I can encourage them to explore and be brave and strong and learn about the world without getting hurt.

I understand that a certain amount of hurt is necessary for the growth of every person, but how do you protect them from those things that will truly harm them?

I hope to have my children walk to school if possible.  How can you send your children off to school and know they'll return safely in the afternoon?  I want them to spend most of their playtime outside, exploring, learning, wandering, and whatever else children might do, but how do you know they will be protected?  What if they get too lost?  What if someone picks them up?

I want them to slip and fall into a patch of cactus.  I want them to feel fear as they slide through a slimy underground tunnel.  I want them to fall and skin their knees and scratch their hands.  I want them to climb too high into that ant-infested tree and feel the wind swaying them back and forth.

I want these things for them because they will grow so much stronger.  And I want them to come to me for the help they can't give themselves.

I want all these things for them, good and bad, because I will love them so very much.

But how do I trust them?  Where do I draw the line?  Do I just have a well-trained dog to protect them while they explore?

I am going to be such a paranoid mother.  Maybe I just shouldn't listen to songs like these when I'm already feeling thoughtful.

Old picture of my nephew that I took.  I've always loved this one.
By the way, I'm currently reading "The Last Child In the Woods."  I'm formulating opinions on it that I plan on blogging and asking your opinion about when I'm done.


Melissa Kunz said...

Eric says to use a dog training collar (the one that shocks them when they leave the boundary) that way you'll never have to worry!

I feel the same as you though. We're going to be such paranoid mothers. We should form a help group now.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see what Mom has to say about this, but I just wanted to comment with how I've dealt with these feelings so far. Cute pic of Nathan btw, he's all soft and chubby still.

So obviously I am sort of paranoid (I know you might say more than sort of, but it's not like I've been diagnosed or anything. :). Anyway, I've thought about worst-case scenarios and stuff. I mean, I watch a lot of procedural shows. I've seen the news, I've heard stories from friends, and I've lived some, so I know what's possible. Everyone has to find that balance that you were talking about - that fine line between being protective and letting them experience things. For me that's meant various things. It means I let Nathan ride the school bus (for now) and go to public school. It means I let Rylie and Nathan play outside in the front yard with their friends. It means I let Nathan walk to his friend's house a couple of streets over once in a while. It also means my kids wear helmets when they ride bikes and that they aren't allowed to go inside unapproved houses or talk to strangers and that they have to look in driveways for cars backing out. It means I stay up late at night working through all the possibilities and making peace with the possible consequences. I don't know if it would make those consequences any easier, should they occur, but it helps me feel better about sending them out into the big, bad world.

I've basically told myself, would I rather my child grow up and old and die (or die at a young age, should that be the case) having learned and experienced as much as possible and necessary, or have the regrets and guilt that come with saying "no" to everything and having missed out on so much? I even thought about this in relation to what happened last week. Would I regret sending Nathan to school that day? The gut answer is yes, but do I regret sending him to school any day in general? No. He's experiencing more than I am able to give him at home. Yes, I'm thinking that schools, even elementary schools, need to beef up security in a major way, but as of now I'm still planning on sending my kids to school. (Although I do wonder if my kids will do the same with their kids... I guess we'll see where things are headed.)

Rambling incoherence, sorry... There's more, but I'll keep it to this.


Anonymous said...

Oh also I just realized that song is the one I linked to in this post (also titled, "comfort" - aren't we clever, hehe):

Anyway, I just wanted to add one other thing. The gospel and how we believe in the afterlife and resurrection and that children who die will be able to come back and have another chance to finish growing up. That is a *huge* comfort to me. That, I think, has made all the difference in the world to me. That and the atonement which can help not only in overcoming our sin, but in working to get past the sins of others who have inflicted their will upon us.


Anonymous said...


You are cute! I would be curious what led you to this current state of meditation. Certain observations and too much free time?

In any event, you can't protect your children from the outside world. I once heard a great talk (can't find it now), which pointed out that the great wall of china was one of the biggest most impressive creations made by man. It took years to build and spans an entire country. It could withstand any attack, any invasion force, and be defended with minimal effort. Nothing of the day could penetrate it....

And yet, in the course of some 150 years the country the wall was supposed to protect was invaded from the north three times. Had the wall failed? No, it hadn't. No military effort was needed to breech the wall, because invading armies had marched through the gates. Each time allowed to pass by defenders who had been bribed.

The moral of the story was that the Chinese had spent years, and fortunes building walls around their children, trying to protect them from the outside world, but had failed to educate them morally so that they could protect themselves from the moral dilemmas that might arise.

The world is getting worse. You can't protect your kids from the world. You just can't. What you can do is do your absolute best to teach your kids everything possible so that they can protect themselves from their own poor choices. Other than that you can only hope the Lord Protects them. And the Lord protects his own, but even he sometimes sees fit to allow them to perish (Look at Josiah).

The real question then is how much energy and stress are you going to spend worrying about it? Better spent arming yourself with the tools to equip them .... ie effectively teaching them. Think of yourself as a warrior. The armor of God is already forged, but you need to teach your children how to wield it, and to trust in it, even if they fall in battle doing it, as long as it was done properly, it won't be in vain.