Fear Not-Parenting In a Violent World

Today I hesitated whether to send my kids to school. Not because of the recent stomach flu that has spread like wildfire through my boys’ elementary school, including one poor girl who threw up on stage in the middle of the holiday chorus concert, but because our neighboring school district, Los Angeles Unified, closed this morning due to a bomb threat.

In a world that seems to have been turned upside down with acts of violence, from the recent Paris attacks, to the three-year anniversary of the innocents who lost their lives in Sandy Hook, to the horrible killing of fourteen people, mothers, fathers, daughters and sons, in San Bernardino, a city that is only one hour away from my family’s home, I find myself more and more struggling as a parent on how to keep my own children safe without succumbing to irrational, full-fledged paranoia.

I recently flashed to the horrible shootings in movie theaters in both Louisiana and Colorado as I stood in line to buy tickets to the Goosebumps movie during a mother/son outing to celebrate my older boy’s tenth birthday, and reminded myself there’s nothing wrong with being cautious. As a parent, we are the protectors, the soothers, the role models. We need to be aware of our surroundings. But as a parent, I also have to trust that we live in a great country, made up mainly of good, decent people, who work hard, love their families, go to work, and generally try to do the right thing.

In other words, despite all the senseless violence that has disrupted and destroyed lives, somehow, just somehow, the good has to win. We can’t live in fear, but in hope, going about our daily routines and teaching our children to make good decisions and to be kind to one another.

This morning, I watched my little boys as they still slept, said a silent prayer for peace and tolerance, and told my sons that it was time to get up for school.




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