January 4, 2012

Tiny Bubbles

Beth and I were channel surfing night before last and we ended up watching Intervention. For those of you not in the know, Intervention is just want it sounds like. They profile some addicted soul then stage an intervention.

It's an utterly heartbreaking. I mean, really and truly heartbreaking. And all I could do was think about my kids repeating holy fuck how do we make sure this never happens? in my head over and over again.

More frequently these days I'm positive that my kids live in a bubble. I know this because Beth and I actually hand-crafted that bubble. Made in America. Built to last. But kids can't live in a bubble all the time and be healthy. They don't experience the world that way. No matter how terrifying it is, they have to. To an extent.

We hear a lot of talk these days about the 1% or the 99% but we don't hear about the 50%. You know, the half of all kids in the country who go to bed hungry or the vast population of people living under the poverty line. Therein lies the dilemma. We talked with Mia a lot this holiday season about those who don't have as much as we do. I'm not sure Mia needs to know the truth but she can't think that everything is always unicorns and rainbows either. Bottom line - our kids need to realize that they're lucky not because we, as parents, have egos that need to be stoked but so they can grow up to be compassionate people, so they can give time and effort and energy to helping those that don't have much and contribute to a world in which the gap between eating breakfast and not isn't quite so vast.

The only way to do that, I guess, is to tell your kids the truth that they can handle and let them do with it what they will how you've taught them. The rest is up to them.

This parenting thing is hard sometimes. I suppose it won't get any easier any time soon. There will be boys and parties and girls and car keys and any number of things that will scare the crap out of me. But that's what we signed up for.

Posted by Chris at January 4, 2012 7:36 AM

Sometimes when I think about what could happen to my kids, I can actually *feel* my heart breaking. But you're right: we do the best we can to prepare them to make smart decisions and do the right thing. We can do no more.

Posted by: Elizabeth at January 4, 2012 8:32 AM

I have been reading your blog for years. I am one of those that had to decide between gifts this christmas.We have lost our home and sometimes I think we have lost our hope. It is almost condiscending and I don't know why, to teach your children about those less fortunate. I suppose it is my own embarassment. I want my children to understand need greater than mine as well, but never thought I'd end up here. As of today I am elgible to sit for the NCLEX but there is no jobs. I hope for the best but expect the worst..

Posted by: michele at January 4, 2012 4:41 PM

Very well said. I would feel so much better about this whole parenting thing if I actually had any idea what I was doing.

Posted by: Military Dad at January 4, 2012 4:58 PM

Find the middle ground between bubble and scaring the crap out of your kids. There is a wide gap there.
One thing I started this summer, with my 9 year old, is a gratitude list. I hung a blank sheet of paper on a wall in our family room and every day she (and I) have to write one thing on it that we are grateful for. When we fill up one sheet of paper, I leave it hanging and just tape up a new one beside it. We've just started our 3rd one.
It's not much, but I know that for at least 5 minutes a day, she is thinking about what she is lucky enough to have that others might not.

Posted by: Fauve at January 5, 2012 11:59 AM

I struggle with what to tell my kids and when to keep them in the bubble too. And the older they get, the more they notice that there are things we have that other people don't. I just try and use those instances as teaching experiences.

Posted by: Stephanie at January 8, 2012 11:52 PM

I cannot watch Intervention. That was my life for awhile. Hubby is an addict (2 years clean now thankfully!) and it was the most dreadful time in my life. We lost everything as a result.. our home, our vehicles, friends, and SO much more. I decided to stick by him, because he is my best friend and I love him. Everyone I talk to says they would have walked. yikes. I can only hope he would not leave me in my darkest hour. That being said, I think EVERY DAY about my little girl and how to avoid that. It scares the Hell out of me. Ugh. Just doing my best to show her that she is loved, that she can do ANYTHING she sets her mind to! Trying to teach her to be giving, caring and compassionate. It is all that we can do. Arm them with what they need to make good, informed decisions when confronted with outside ugliness. *sigh*

And for Michele who posted up there.. I am so sorry to hear what you are facing. Been there! Do not lose hope! It WILL get better!

Posted by: Jen at January 9, 2012 9:06 AM