So much happens in the world that we may never see as we go through our daily lives. Much of it we do not want to see. Every time I watch the local news, I remember why I do not watch it every night. It is loaded with crime and corruption, much of it involving gunfire. I often wonder how much of these horrifying occurrences our son really knows happens. Most of his 12-year-life has existed on a Christian school and church campus and in our own neighborhood. Now that he has turned 12, he needs to understand what happens outside of those boundaries.
Safe Christian school
My wife and I have our son in a terrific Christian school - the same one at which I teach. I know almost every person who comes onto our campus regularly, and everyone knows my son, wife, and me. We have great professional and friendly relationships. Our son learns rigorous academics and relevant Bible lessons daily in a very safe environment with plenty of campus security. In our eight years there, we have had only one potentially serious matter in which we need authorities to come onto the campus. Even that ended quickly without incident. We spend almost all of our daytime hours and all of our church hours on that same campus, so we see very little else.
Great and safe neighborhood
Even at home, we enjoy peace in our neighborhood. We get along very well with all of our neighbors, and our kids play together constantly. We can let them play at a distance from us but still under at least one adult's supervision. We all keep watch on the block, and we will look out for each others' homes when someone goes out of town. We moved onto the block three years before our son was born, and even though some neighbors have changed, the atmosphere has not. Again, we see very little suspicious or malicious activity, and we all feel very safe and comfortable.
Watching the local news
On a very recent Friday, a shooting occurred just off the campus of my wife's school. Thankfully, no one was hurt seriously, but a girl did receive a minor injury. My father-in-law saw the report on the local midday news, so we decided to watch the evening news for a rerun. We put the news on. The first three stories all involved three other shootings that happened around our city in recent times. I looked over and saw our son in plain eye- and earshot of the news. I used to cringe when stories like this came on, but I realize now that he is old enough at twelve to know what really happens outside of our neighborhood and off of our school/church campus. The news about these three shootings did not include the one at my wife's school, so that meant four shootings that our son had heard about that day.
Discussing the matter with my son
The next morning we drove to our Saturday Little League game. During the drive, I brought up the news stories and the school incident. I want our son to understand why we keep such a close eye on him. He is well sheltered on campus and at home, but he needs to understand the real world. People do some crazy things. Shootings happen, kids disappear, burglars steal. We want our son to know that even as he grows and gradually gains more freedom, we will still watch over and protect him.
Making sure he knows
Although we will keep our son in his Christian school and continue to help watch out for our neighborhood, we want him to know that some very dangerous things happen in this world. He can grow up safe but still learn how to protect himself and his own family later in life. Keeping safe and teaching him to protect himself are top priorities.
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