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raising a child

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Where is the Village? The Village is Still There

My friend Rebecca wrote a piece about Where is the Village, inspired by the little child who managed to enter the gorilla exhibit at the Cincinati Zoo.

Many were quick to judge the parents losing sight of their child. If you’re not a parent, you can’t offer an opinion. Sorry. And if you are a parent and it hasn’t happened to you yet, hold on. Some day it will, even for a micro second.

It was 4:30pm in the afternoon when the phone rang. It was the school.

My kids were outside playing. Was it my third-grade son’s teacher calling to address my son’s silly behaviour in class again?

Or was it my sixth-grader’s teacher calling to share her concerns about my son’s recent math test results?

No. it was the school office calling to see if I by chance knew where my nine-year-old son’s best friend could be. Did he say anything to my son about going to a friend’s after school? Was he with us?

Usually his babysitter picks him up by car, and they drive home. But this day, the boy wasn’t at his usual spot.

I panicked for the boy. I thought of his mother. 

So of course, I ran outside, and called my son to ask him if his friend said anything at all to him about where he was going after school.

Could he have gone to his friend’s house? To the park? Was he hanging around the school?

The village is still there.

My boys and their neighbourhood friends rode their bicycles to the park to look for him. They then rode to the school to see if they heard any word.

The boy was technically missing for about an hour.

If I was the mom with the missing child, I would want everyone to help me.

Just then, the boy enters the front doors of the school with his babysitter.

The babysitter had arrived late to pick the boy up from school. Because his sitter arrived late, the boy walked over to the park and played with a friend for a while. He then walked all the way home, and knocked on the door. But no one was there, so he walked to the park closest to his house and waited. He was scared, and waited there.

Of course, the boy now knows what to do should his sitter ever be late again.

There have been many moments where this has happened, just a split second at the grocery or toy store when you lose sight of your child for a moment and the panic sets in.

You could only hope there are other people who would drop everything to help in a situation like this.

What if it were your child.

Do you even have to put yourself in that situation? Put yourself in the other person’s shoes? You just help.

My boys and their friends were rewarded with freezies and thank-yous by the school admin and teachers who were frantically searching and making phone calls.

My nine-year-old met up with his best friend later, and I chatted with his mom, who hugged me and thanked us for our concern and efforts.

Of course we would help. We would expect anyone to do the same.

But I guess the world out there isn’t as kind as we may be. Some people do look the other way.

I do believe there are still good people out there willing to lend a helping hand.

The village is still there – you just need to find it.

How to Raise a Child in Today’s World Without Losing Your Mind

It seems like every time you turn around, there’s something new to worry about regarding your children’s safety: Canned vegetables and BPA. Swimming and dry drowning. And now… sunscreen spray and cancer. It’s enough to make any parent lose their mind.

While hiding away and doing our best to shield our children from anything that could harm them may be a tempting solution at times, we all know that eventually we’re going to have to let our kids out into the world, and eventually we are going to expose them to some things that aren’t the best for them. When this time comes, don’t drive yourself crazy with worry. Use these four steps for raising your child in today’s world without losing your mind.

How to Raise a Child in Today’s World Without Losing Your Mind

How to Raise a Child in Today's World Without Losing Your Mind

1. Accept the Inevitable

First of all, realize that every kid is going to be exposed to something dangerous at some point. It doesn’t matter how careful you are, either. Your kids are still going to get bumps and bruises, they are going to get their feelings hurt, and they are probably going to eat dirt at some point. Trying to protect them from everything would be futile.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to protect your children from things that are clearly dangerous, but that you don’t need to obsessively worry over everything. As the saying goes, “A little dirt don’t hurt.”

2. Get Informed

All too often, our fears and reactions are based on how dangerous we feel a situation is, not how dangerous the situation actually is. Combat this fear by getting the facts. If you are worried about your child attending her first sleepover, meet the other girl’s family and ask questions about sleeping arrangements. If you are worried about the meals your son will eat at school, find out more about what the school serves and how it is prepared.

3. Make Healthier Choices

Once you have the facts about a situation, you are better able to make an educated decision instead of an emotional reaction. Whether you choose to cloth diaper or disposable diaper, to serve organic food or hit the drive thru, or to formula feed or breastfeed, you’ll feel much more confident and secure with your decision, since it will be based on facts.

4. Seek Balance

Lastly, whatever choices you make for your family, be sure that you take a balanced approach. There is no reason to go completely overboard and ruin all the fun because of your fears. Instead, determine what your goals and priorities are (whether you want your kids to eat healthier or stay safer when they are out of your sight, for example), and then determine what a reasonable course of action would be. What works for your family isn’t necessarily the same as what works for others, and you have to make the choices that are best for you.

What things about raising a child in today’s world worry you and threaten to make you lose your mind?

 

BrittanyWife and mom to two very energetic little boys, when Brittany isn’t busy chasing after her kidlets, you can find her reading, writing or sneaking chocolate so she doesn’t have to share–probably all of the above!