Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Problem with Assumptions

Based on surveys Christie Barnes (author of The Paranoid Parents Guide) collected, the top five worries of parents are, in order:
  1. Kidnapping
  2. School snipers
  3. Terrorists
  4. Dangerous strangers
  5. Drugs
But how do children really get hurt or killed?
  1. Car accidents
  2. Homicide (usually committed by a person who knows the child, not a stranger)
  3. Abuse
  4. Suicide
  5. Drowning
 I recall reading somewhere a piece contrasting the fears of children today with the children of 1967.  The things kids worried about then were a mix of made up threats and real threats that had not risen to a code red.  We are talking about things like a boogy man under the bed, not getting a good grade, not making the team, not being popular, etc...  Fast forward to our own time and kids were worried about real threats that were a blinking code red in their daily lives -- suicide (themselves or a friend),  drugs (themselves or a friend), loneliness, divorce of parents, lack of one parental figure in their lives, etc...

Our children's fears have become adult fears -- real, honest threats upon their lives and well-being.  Meanwhile parents still think that the things they need to pay attention to are the presumed fears of the news headlines.  We need a meeting of the minds here to bring parents into the circle of their children's reality and to bring children into the circle of God's presence, grace, and peace.

I always think back to the promises parents make in baptism to raise their children in the faith, to teach them God's Word, to bring them to the services of God's house, to help them through catechism, so enable them to come to the altar rail and receive the Body and Blood of Christ, and to make the home a place of blessing, peace, love, and prayer. 

We do not need to turn the Church into fun that distracts kids from what they are really facing and what they really fear, we need the Church to equip them to face what is real and threatening in their lives and to answer the power of fear with the power of the peace that passes understanding in Jesus Christ, our Lord.

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