Imagine that you are a safety inspector for newly built roller coasters. Your job is to go out and inspect the rollercoaster for any defects, to make sure the repairs are made properly and then to be one of the 1st passengers to actually ride the roller coaster to make sure is up to quality standards. Obviously, if this is done correctly, nobody is injured or hurt and the rollercoaster passes the inspection and is open to the public. This is very much the role we take as a parent. It’s our job to bring our child into the world and to teach them right from wrong and to make sure that they are prepared as young adults to enter into the world as productive human beings. To inspect the choices they make along the way. As a parent, we cannot become negligent in this role. It is our job to consistently and proactively be involved. Let me help you understand where I’m going with all this….
Wednesday was nothing short of an emotional day for me filled with anxiety and tears. I received a phone call and an email notification from my daughter’s public school letting me know that they were going to do a lockdown drill that will be completely unannounced. From what I am aware this is the first time that a drill like this has been done unannounced like this. Not even the staff members are aware that this is a drill. While I understanding the importance that they take these types of precautions and perform such drills, it hurts my heart.
I remember when I was in grade school we did tornado drills. I could always look out the window and see that the sun was shining and I would know that it was “just a drill.” When we did fire drills and we exited the classroom one would instantly assume that it was just a drill if you didn’t smell any smoke for the most part. But with a lockdown drill for a shooter inside of your school, there is no precedent for knowing whether this is a real live lockdown or just a drill. So it crushes me to think that for 10 minutes every staff member and child in that school is scared, anxious, hearts pounding in their chest wondering if they are going to be able to survive.
As a parent, we all have this sense of protectiveness when it comes to our children. We always hope that our children don’t die and that they live long and healthy lives. But as a grieving parent when we lose a child, that sense of awareness is taken to a whole different level. A level that is completely unexplainable to those who have not endured the gut-wrenching heartache. The realization that your children can be taken away from you by death makes life a little bit more difficult. We become overprotective. We can become extremely emotional at the drop of a hat. Today, just the thought of my daughter having that sudden fear that her life was in danger and knowing she would feel instantly sympathetic for her mother at the thought that she would lose another child, it brought tears to my eyes. As a parent, if this type of awareness of what is happening in our society today does not hurt your heart then you are not doing your job to raise your children the proper way. Because I cannot imagine that any parent would ever want their child to have to experience this type of anxiety or fear.
It is time as parents we stand up and do our jobs. Parent’s need to be aware of their child surroundings, the people they hang out with, their friends, where they are at, at all times and what they’re doing. It is our job to be a parent and not a friend. If we do not have our child’s passwords to every social media account and we are not checking their phones on a regular base, then we are not doing our job. Screw the “Oh I trust them. I want them to have some privacy.” I don’t care how well a parent “THINKS” we know our child or how sure they are that our child will always do the right thing, I can guarantee we are WRONG! Children are still children no matter if they are teenagers or not. At some point, they’re going to mess up because it’s a part of the learning experience and no child is perfect. Every child will make mistakes and every child, even with the most innocent of mistakes will always try to get away with something that they know they should not be doing.
So why is it that we as parents are not doing our part to parent our children and protect not only them, but protect the people around us, the people we love the most, our neighbors, our friends and our community. I would hate to be that parent who gets a phone call and is told that my child, the child that I raised that I thought was good in all manners, just shot up the school because they were pissed off at a friend, or a teacher, or somebody else that hurt their feelings the day before. What kind of disservice are we as parents doing to our children for us not to realize, sense, or see that something is going on in our children’s lives? As parents, we need to be fully aware of their social media accounts and text messages. IT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY to snoop through their rooms and go through their drawers to make sure they’re not hiding things or keeping secrets.
We are not our children’s friends, we are their parents and it is our job, it is our duty to do just that and to parent them. I ask you today parent’s to please take a few moments to talk to your children. Go through their rooms when they’re not home. It is our house, not theirs, we pay the bills. Take their phones from them when they’re not expecting it and go through every text message and every social media account. Hold them accountable and set that level of expectation so that they are fully aware of what is expected of them. Screw privacy. Screw being worried that they will be mad at us. Respect is worth more at the end of the day and when our children are grown, they will respect the fact that we cared enough to want what is best at all times!!