I hate being the one to strip a little of my kids’ childhood away. It’s the innocence that comes with being young but eventually life gets in the way and they have to learn the hard stuff. But let’s face it, far better for it to be us as parents than the hard world to be the one to teach such lessons. I had to do that with my kids a week ago, and I hated every moment of it, but in the end, it’s better they know.
We live in a pretty sleepy place. There’s crime around us but it’s typically petty and non-life threatening. So it came as a shock when my local news was talking about a convicted murderer hiding out somewhere in the neighborhood. More so, they didn’t catch him. So here I am, prepping my house at night and it hits me that my kids won’t know what to do if someone gets in the house. Oh geez. It’s like a nightmare coming true. Up to this point my kids firmly believed that it’s just monsters and bugs they need to be afraid of. Now I have to tell them about people? I wavered for a while, but in the end a glaring truth convinced me of my need to prepare my kids for any emergency. While I am armed in my home to deal with such a threat, my ability to do so would be greatly reduced if I have my kids running to me and getting into the line of fire. So, filed under the category of “I do this for your own good”, I had a long talk of serious things with my oldest two kids. My daughter, being very practical and used to weighty requests understood her responsibility. Be quiet, get the boys, get safe, make the call. If you can’t get out lie low and call. My little man, however, found not trying to save mom a very difficult thing. I was right about my fear for my kids. They all thought if they heard me screaming, if there was a fire, or if they heard gunfire, that they were to come rescue me. It was difficult, but I was able to show them that in sneaking out with a cell phone and running to the neighbors, and in making that all important call to 911, they were indeed rescuing me. I had to explain that if someone is willing to hurt me, they will think nothing of hurting them.
All my kids ended up sleeping in the same room that night, and I myself didn’t sleep the best, but I felt better prepared knowing that we had this talk. I remind myself kids are resilient and they can cope with more than we let them. And in the end, my verbal stripping of their childhood is better than them going through such tragedies with no preparation. But, I still hate the necessity of it.