Friday, March 31, 2006
Where does being "safe" originate?
Lady Lime commented on my Oakland post and got me thinking. Yes, it's very scary to have our kids in the line of fire.
My parents' reaction to the 60s was to build an entire playground in the backyard, with swings, a sandbox, a sidewalk loop for our bicycles, a dirt pile and lumber for making stuff, and a fort/shed, so we never had to leave the safety of the home. It was an amazing place to play, and all the neighborhood kids came over, but it was very much a box.
Made my transition to the world very very difficult. I was 20 years old when I finally had had enough. I packed all my worldly belongings into a backpack, hopped on my bicycle and moved out while my parents were at a party. Ugly. Didn't speak with them for six months. Uglier. When I re-initiated contact, Dad said, "Well, at least you've stayed out of jail." Ugliest.
We never know what "safe" really looks like. My friend Tina lives in Oregon, and her kids go to a highschool having low diversity, and yet there was a killing there a month back or so.
Caitlan shows me that real security comes from choosing your friends carefully, being very alert, and using an aikido-like mindset that an aggressor is really a person asking for help. She is also very aware of how to get help from people in authority. She's demonstrated remarkable maturity several times over the last couple of years.
My parents built a wall around me, to keep me safe. Caitlan has learned that safety starts with her. Not by being the biggest threat, but rather she demonstrates that safety can be achieved through a dynamic balance of personal responsibility and situational awareness.
Posted by Robert van de Walle