Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Parenting: Never Risk-free

Each Day of Your Life is Precious

Lately, I've shut off the news—it’s usually depressing and frustrating. And if you’re chasing or carting your little ones from place to place, who has time to sit and watch violence, erratic world markets and bratty starlet meltdowns? And who wants to? When we travel, happy music fills our vehicle, not breaking news from CNN.

I broke my fast from news to follow a tragic story about a dad and his kids who drowned off the coast of Florida while sailing along the coast. Usually I blog about happy things and silver linings. But I am taking a few moments here to remind you that life is fragile.

This father had no idea that a routine jaunt from one Florida harbor to the next would be his last. The children didn’t know. No one knew. They expected smooth sailing.

I don’t think we truly realize how much power we have over our children. Their safety is often based on what we do (or don’t do) as parents. Even the tiniest decision can have a lasting effect on a child. I read a blog (http://nicolemcaruso.com/motherhood/bernadette-dalgetty) and when speaking of her dressed-down attire of old yoga pants and messy bun, one mom said: “I realized I have the power to embarrass my children.” The little things make a difference. I'm now more conscious of how I look when I’m in public with the kids.

I’m sure there were a million things that this father could have done to save his children. But like so many parents, myself included, he just assumed things would go without incident. I’m equally sure he will be posthumously criticized for his lack of parenting. In his defense: Parents are only human and can't foresee all dangers. Who knows when a truck will hit your minivan, a virus blaze through your family, a tornado tear up your neighborhood, floods, fires or any manner of disaster? Devastation doesn’t wait for parents to be fully prepared.

All parents should love and respect their roles as mommies and daddies—you are so critical to a child's life. Your safety, health and happiness are directly related to theirs. By the same token, you want your child to take risks, leave the nest and not be afraid of their own shadow. To be cautious and be encouraging is delicate balance for parents. But you can do it.

Hug your babies every day. Kiss them and tell them they are so precious, whether it be calm seas or stormy weather.

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