In response to Fear Itself:
My life growing up in rural Mississippi is something my children will never quite understand. My sister and I were always outside and never had fears of drive-by shootings, being kidnapped or anything of that sort.
I am currently raising my family in a very busy suburb in Phoenix. While I want more than anything to keep my children safe, I also believe that some things in life just have to be experienced.
My sons are teenagers now and I tell them to "go play outside" at least a few times a week. I expect them to walk to their friends' homes a few blocks away, to the park down our street or to go climb the mountain about a mile from our home. I also expect them to return safely. My daughter, however, is five and lives by different rules (just as my sons did when they were younger).
I try not to let the media influence my decisions as a parent, but the fact of the matter is that three child molesters live within ten miles of my home. That would be unheard of twenty five years ago in the small town I lived in, but it's about average for a big city. (Trust me, I checked the crime statistics when looking for a home.)
While I may have some media-induced, irrational fears, I still believe that children need to be children. If I rob them of all the life experiences that taught me, that gave me the grit to know what in life is worth fighting for, it would be a great disservice to them. So, as a mother of three, I will push my fears aside and send my children to "go play outside."
3 weeks ago