Below are excerpts from Frida Barrigan’s piece
“Should We Shield our Kids from a Violent World?”
“Since she entered kindergarten last fall, our violent and unpredictable world has pressed in close. In December, a young man armed to the teeth massacred 20 kids and six adults at an elementary school less than 80 miles from our town. Just last week, two heavily armed young men detonated bombs at the Boston Marathon’s finish line killing three and injuring hundreds. Our plan was to be right there, too . . . cheering our friend as she finished the 26.2-mile course” (6).
“And then, of course, a little further away is the daily dose of violence wrapped in plastic and delivered to our door every morning—killing in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq; saber-rattling and threats of war on the Korean peninsula; death and destruction from West Texas to Dhaka, Bangladesh; the random and not so random brutality displayed in inner cities and suburbs throughout our country; the grind of poverty, racism and sexism; the looming threats posed by cataclysmic climate change, nuclear weapons proliferation and environmental destruction. The list goes on and on” (7).
“Can I protect her from all of this? Should I?” (8).
“As far as I know, Rosena does not know about the Sandy Hook massacre or the Boston bombing—she is blissfully unaware. And despite my own youthful exposure to the dark side, I think that is a good thing” (14).
“Lots of kids don’t have the luxury of being shielded from tragedy and deprivation. Almost 17 million kids in this country are hungry. Every hour, 84 kids end up in a U.S. emergency room as the result of violence perpetrated against them. And there is no “war” on our urban streets and suburban cul-de-sacs. The picture is equally grim (or worse) outside of our borders—every five seconds, a child dies of hunger somewhere in the world” (15).
“I want Rosena to know all of this and feel it too. I want her grow up compassionate and empathetic. I want her to work for justice and peace. I want her to be curious about people and empowered to help them. She already is and those impulses will grow and mature with time. But, right now, I just want her to be six years old—innocent, lucky, happy and horse mad” (16).
The author begs the question: Should parents shield their children from the plethora of day to day violence? Weigh in and let us know what you think!