My kids learned a new phrase at school today: Red Alert.
At each class change, they had to learn the "safe zones" in their rooms.
My kids actually practiced a new procedure in case someone comes into their school and starts shooting.
That is just a bit on the disturbing side, and I'm torn as to how I feel about it.
If we only listen to the news, we have to assume the world is being overrun by crazy, evil people hell-bent on destroying us.
I am not going to deny that there are some dangerous people out there.
And I'm not going to shelter my kids from that fact.
They lock the doors when they are home alone.
They aren't allowed to go to the mall unsupervised.
They aren't to take the proverbial candy from the stranger.
Whenever they go on a bike ride, they go in pairs.
There are creeps, and I want my children to trust their built-in "creep" radars.
But I am not going to scare my children.
They will talk to strangers all over town in order to learn what is appropriate and what is not. If they never talk to strangers, they won't know what is normal behavior and what is something to avoid. They won't be able to learn what "creepy" feels like. (There is one person in particular who works at a local grocery store. He creeps me out. I pay attention to that feeling and discuss it with my kids.)
Yes, they are and will be aware of the danger in the world.
However, I am going to make damn sure they know of all the good, kind people everywhere they go.
They are going to know that the people wanting to help us and be kind to us far outnumber the people wanting to do us harm. People like...
- the worker who sees a newly lost tooth in a baggy on our kitchen counter and leaves a dollar, just to make a child smile.
- the volunteer coaches who give up so much time to help my kids have fun while becoming better players.
- the kind folks at the grocery store who chat and high five the kids to help the trip be less tedious.
- the moms from school who see my child waiting for me and ask if she needs a ride, a phone to borrow, or just a person with whom to wait.
- the dentist who goes out of his way to acquire teeth from the oral surgeon for my middle schooler doing a science fair project on tooth decay.
- the neighbor who plows our driveway without being asked and without expectations of being repaid.
- the restaurant hostess who takes my kids back to the kitchen to refill their milks and gives them candy canes off the Christmas tree.
- the people who run ahead to hold a door open for us.
- the mom of a student in my class who noticed Cuckoo in the room with me, so made up an extra treat bag on her son's birthday.
- the teacher who goes out of his way to write a note to me explaining something my child did to make the teacher proud.
- the dads who give up a weekend to take a bunch of scouts camping.
- the people who compliment Cuckoo on his tattoos and Turken on his mustache and make them feel like rock stars
- the couple who comes to take care of our animals and farm when we go out of town and while here fixes any fence or window or toilet they know needs fixing.
- the soccer parents who intentionally bring toys and snacks for the little boys to the games.
The list is endless. And I want my kids to know it.
Because here's the thing. If someone is hell-bent on hurting one of us, there isn't a whole lot we can do about it. We can be aware and have discussions about it, but why live in fear of something that probably won't happen that we can't control anyway?
I would much rather spend my time focusing on the wonderfully caring, generous, kind people sharing this earth with me.
And I want my children to do the same.
What are some of the nice things people have done for you lately?
Have a lovely day!