“Dad, it’s fine. I’m not going to get MERS in Korea.”
Yeah, that makes me nervous. Sure going to Korea in the middle of the MERS scare is unnerving, but the idea that she’s incapable – that it’s a definite to her – that she’s not going to catch it bothers me.
It’s that type of thinking that leads to risky behavior.
…and I taught her to be safe! Didn’t I?
Believe me, I know risky behavior. It’s what lead to her being here in the first place.
So, it would seem, she learned it from watching me..
Have you ever looked back and questioned whether what you taught your child was the right thing?
I wonder if jumping off that waterfall in Dominican Republic was really a good thing to do, now.
Maybe, I didn’t teach her to be safe. Maybe, I taught her to live her life in spite of death instead of in fear of it. Maybe, I taught her that risk is inherent in everything worth pursuing. Maybe, I went too far.
It’s too late now, though, huh? …or is it?
Still Dad after all these years
Alright, so there’s an epidemic. It’s ten days before your child is traveling to the place of said epidemic. What do you do?
Cancel the trip?
“Heck yeah, cancel the trip!”
And that was my first thought, but the experience of studying overseas is one I never had the opportunity for and I believe will be good for her. So, I decided to keep an eye on it and make the decision a few days before the actual flight.
The media was as expected. Completely fear based headlines, but the bulk of the articles said travel was OK, just be careful in crowds – that the spread was mostly happening in contained, close contact.
So, I went to find those surgical masks, for her wear on the plane – not that they’re really going to prevent anything. I mean, you still breath the air around the sides of the things. It’s our job, though, to do stupid things in the name of protecting our kids. I would have drawn mustaches on them at least.
But, alas, I couldn’t find them… and she rejoiced.
“I’m not going to lick any camels, Dad. I’ll be fine.”
In reality, our kids do a bunch of things where we as parents shrug and comment how kids will be kids. We make blanket statements like “They’re going to have to learn this on their own.”
I’ve talked before about being scared our kids will make the same mistakes we did, but the root of this is a little different, I think.
You see, the things we find most frustrating in others are often the things we need to improve on ourselves. As we watch our kids, it’s increasingly hard to ignore that fact that we are like that, too. That they – as previously stated – learned it from watching us.
In this particular instance, I’ll admit: I’m totally guilty. The risk-taking, nobody gets out of here alive, anyway philosophy drove a lot of the way she was taught.
… and I stand by it.
Back to Invincible
The real question is, how do we teach our kids to draw the line? We can’t hide under the covers our whole life just waiting to die. That’s no life.
We can’t change who we are, how we were raised, and what things we believe are important.
Our goal is to get our kids to refine our own beliefs, growing further than we have. (← Tweet this)
But, how do we do that? I’ve got no answer… and I’d love to hear yours.
I was taught to hide under the covers my whole life.