Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Our Worst Fears

So much in our society today is about being afraid. We are constantly warned by the government and the news networks about dangers looming over us: terrorist attacks, global warming, increased gun violence, natural disasters and a slew of other things. I think part of all the warnings we receive are an attempt to keep us (the general public) afraid. After all, people who are scared are easier to control. Of course, some of the warnings are legitimate too.
I have found now that I have children, my fear of major catastrophic events has lessened. My immediate fears are centered around the well being of my children. I am afraid that my 2 year old will break his neck falling down our unforgiving wooden staircase or that my four year old will ride his shiny, new bicycle into the busy street near our house. These events have a higher probability than a terror attack in suburbia, PA and would be more catastrophic to me personally than all of the other possible events spouted on the news. I know that that is a shortsighted and incredibly selfish point of view, but I figure that in my own small way I am also trying to improve the world. I am raising my children in a loving and safe home where they are able to learn and grow and become conscious, productive members of society. Would it be better if I raised them to be afraid of their own shadow? Or if I spent all of my time campaigning futilely about the dangers of global warning and left them on their own to figure out what is important in life?
The way I figure it is that if my kids were killed in a terrorist bombing or a natural disaster, I would be devestated; But if they grew up to be the terrorists or the school shooter, the cause of the destruction, that would be a million times worse!
Parenting is scary business because in addition to worrying about exposing our children to all of the mayhem in the world, most of us have no clue what we are doing or how our children will turn out. I guess it comes down to how we face our fears. My mom's favorite quote is, "Courage is action with fear". So I guess the question we have to ask ourselves is not "are we afraid", but do we have the courage to act despite our fears?

1 comment:

Tyler said...

You are exactly right about the News Media and government's intentionality with regard to reporting all of the bad stuff. You should talk to Rebecca about this sometime. She's the expert, after all.