Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Being a parent

I have to say that since I've gotten to experience the joys of parenthood, it has really changed my perspective on things, like say, school shootings. I hear of a shooting and it just makes me cringe, it makes me feel sick inside. I feel like it could have been my daughter, even though she's only 20 months old.

This morning I heard on the radio that at a local elementary school, high winds blew over a flagpole and struck a kindergartener - a five year old girl - in the head. She was dead by the time the paramedics arrived. I was about ready to cry when I heard that. I could not help but think of my little girl.

I now understand that question I've seen some ask when something happens involving children and someone seems not to be all that concerned, and so that person is asked "do you have any kids?" It is just something visceral, I'm sure probably evolutionary, that makes us feel very protective of our kids and that makes parents extra sensitive to any dangers they might face. Sometimes irrationally so.

And then there are certain tragedies with even younger kids, well, I just can't think about that right now for reasons I'm not prepared yet to discuss.


Trinity said...

i;'m stunned by people not even responding to the events at vt. i'm totally shocked and saddened by it and to see people go on and on about daily drivel.. eh it bugs me

DBB said...

I can understand that, though I can also understand those who want to avoid the inevitable over-saturated coverage we'll see in the media for the next week.

I've been trying to avoid that.

I try and take heart in the fact that in a nation of 300 million people, tens of thousands of whom are mentally ill and recieving no treatment for it, we only have one shooting like this every few years instead of every week.

And yet, it still makes me want to just lock my daughter in the house with me and never let her outside again.

LCR said...

I am a mom of three and I recognize in you the unbelievable mental change I went through as soon as I became a parent. If I'm not careful, I can drive myself nuts thinking about all of the horrible things that might happen to my kids. There are certain shows I can no longer watch on TV (usually about tragedies happening to families) because I automatically think of how it would be to have that happen to my own family and my own kids. Watching the horror of the aftermath of the Virginia Tech massacre and realizing that everyone one of those kids have family who are now struggling to go on with their lives without that child simply makes me want to grab my kids and hug them until they yelp.

I think that when we become parents, most of us experience an increase in our empathy. We are more readily able to put ourselves into the shoes of others, to the point where we can actually feel a measure of the pain other parents go through. It hurts, but it just drives home how lucky we are to have these kids and to make sure that we make every moment count.

DBB said...

Yes, it is amazing how it changes you - all it takes is now imagining something happening to your own child to make it hit home.

Fortunately, movies and such don't worry me - no matter how compelling, it is all actors. But newstories, that is something else entirely.

I try and take heart in the fact that while something like VT is bad, it is also very rare.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I don't think becoming a parent makes a person any more moral or emphathetic than those who aren't parents.

Some parents murder their children, after all.