Does knowledge of random incidents change how you parent?
While there is NOTHING these families could have done to avoid the random acts that so adversely affected their lives, does the knowledge you have of the incidents affect how you parent?
Last week wasn’t the best for local news. A Calgary family faced the awful conclusion to the two week horror story of their parents and five year old going missing, the man of interest being charged with two counts of first degree murder and one count of second degree, (the bodies of the three still to be located).
And the start of the pre trial of the accused in the death of two year old Geo Morin, killed while sitting on a patio having lunch by an alleged drunk driver who put his car in drive instead of reverse. While still grieving, the family faces a lengthy court process in the trial of the accused.
I am sure there are numerous other ‘mother’s worst nightmare’ reports that I didn’t tune in to.
The awfulness, the complete randomness of these incidents makes me wonder: should these incidents change how I parent? I know that there is NOTHING these families could have done, and I can not express enough the heartache I feel for these people whom I will never meet. But I can't help but wonder, if I am vigilant enough, can I reduce the chance of a random act of violence happening to my family?
In light of the news, should I refuse to leave my child overnight. Anywhere. Even as safe a place as his grandparents? Should I peruse restaurants, or any other place for that matter, for potential accident openings, or better yet, stay at home?
I exercise vigilance against random incidents in other parts (or times) in my life. I never left a pub without at least one friend with me, or left my drink unattended, nor accepted a ride home from a ‘new ‘ friend. I don’t approach vehicles that ask for directions. I stay on the sidewalk and yell my answer. I don’t park next to vans without windows. I am 37 years old, and I still call my mom to tell her I arrived at my destination when I am on a lengthy car or plane trip.
And yet, when I ran regularly, I never took a cell phone, or left a route where I was going. I run countless errands a day with the kids without feeling the need to tell anyone where we are going, or when we should be expected back. I don’t record what I or the kids are wearing, or who we are meeting.
It appears I have decided what areas of my life need some vigilance, and which don’t. Which in itself is as random as the acts I am trying to avoid.
Random acts are just that RANDOM; by its own definition, it is its nature to be both unpredictable and unavoidable. Every person who went to work in the towers on 9/11, was simply going to work. Every person who gets in a car accident on their way home from work is simply coming home. Victims of crimes of circumstance are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time; none deserve, nor invite, the event.
In answer to my own question, because I am now aware of these incidents, I am more wary in similar situations with my children. Yet, I don’t want to adjust our lives to be fearful of the randomness. We still need to go to work and drive to school. We still enjoy eating on patios and having sleepovers, and everything else life has to offer.
I decided to simply be more aware. I still plan to get my destination; I just don’t plan on walking down a dark alley by myself to get there. The same logic applies with the children; we still go about everything that makes us, us, I just apply as much logic to a situation as possible. I have no idea if that will change an act of randomness intersecting our lives. I hope I never find out.