Take a Hike – Acts of Resistance in a So-Called “Increasingly Violent” World

There is still peace in the world, but it's not on your iphone.


Is it possible to mourn a tragedy, fight for gun control and mental health access, and manage our own fears and terror without concluding the world is a dangerous place and passing that fear on to our kids?  Yes.  And as parents, we have no choice.  We have to find that balance.  Otherwise, we are the ones creating that terrible, dangerous world.  Our kids are looking to us to understand what is dangerous and what isn’t, and to teach them to determine when to take risks and when to be cautious.  If we teach them that the world is full of evil people seeking to harm them, we are not only giving them false information, we are robbing them of a full life.

A horrific, unfathomable tragedy occurred in Newtown, Connecticut this month.  For me, when those children go through my mind, they all have the faces of my precious twins.   My maternal instinct tells me to lock the doors, close the shades, batten down the hatches, and teach my children to be afraid.  That is the world we live in, right?  Don’t talk to strangers, stay inside, don’t touch that, you can’t go in there, you never know, use hand sanitizer, abstinence only, better safe than sorry.

I can’t say how frequently I hear parents musing longingly about how they used to play outside all day from morning until night, left to their own devices to manage relationships with other kids, explore, solve problems, and make their own fun without parental supervision.  When I hear these things I’m always puzzled.  If these parents know how good this was for them, why don’t they let their children do the same?  But before I can even respond, I hear the inevitable, “But this is a different world… you just can’t do that anymore.”   Where did we get this idea, and who is benefitting from it?  Certainly not our kids.

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Why Should You Care? Confessions of an Anti-Blogger…

Okay, full disclosure time.  In addition to being technologically challenged and still grappling with concepts such as the internet (but what IS it exactly?), I used to think blogging was really kind of self-indulgent.  It seemed everybody had a blog, could we all really be that interesting?

I still find myself perplexed by the post-modern predicament in which we are all able to access each other infinitely.  With reality television and social networking and youtube and twitter (#whatevertheheckthatis,) and the like, we find ourselves spewing everything from the most inane to the most intimate aspects of or lives, communicating endlessly and to the point where communication loses all meaning.

I find myself wishing to God that I did not have to know that you went for a run this morning with your dog, that you have an ingrown toenail, and that you’re thinking about trying a new recipe tonight, a link to which I’m also subjected to.  And yet I find myself checking and checking and reading and waiting for that one critical post that I just wouldn’t be able to stand missing.

And just because that’s what I do, I take such experiences to their logical conclusions in my mind.  I envision a world in which we will all be utterly and irrevocably interconnected and my brain will simply broadcast into yours and yours into mine until at some point I won’t know if, in fact, I’m the one with the ingrown toenail.

It’s hard enough figuring out who the heck I am without experiencing this techno mind-meld with the rest of humanity!  And yet, here I sit writing a blog, after asking myself so many times why you should care. How many of us really are that interesting that we have something worthy of being read or shown on tv or listened to, etc.?

When I was in college (there’ll be lots of these) I spent a lot of time walking, by myself.  I didn’t have a car, so I wandered around and often found myself pondering the fact that no one knew where I was.  Of course I’d see this person here or that person there, but there was no one to witness the big picture.

I was in that vacuum of known-ness -between parental supervision and partner-hood, where hours, even days can pass and no one will wonder about you.  I understand the desire to be “followed,” through a blog, on twitter, anywhere.  To have a witness.  As Ani DiFranco put it, “What if no one’s watching?”

We all want to know someone’s watching… and the truth is, I’m no different.

So why should you care?  The sad fact is you probably shouldn’t.  What do I have to offer you?  A willingness to say what others won’t or wouldn’t think to, a depth you may be craving, a snarky sense of humor, a perspective on the world that’s a little different?

I guess I could hope that perhaps my words will help someone.  That you will read this blog and feel understood and somehow your life will be better.  But, truth be told, I think that’s unlikely.  I think one could argue all writing is a selfish enterprise, all art, for that matter.

So for now, I’m going to allow myself that indulgence.  So maybe this whole blogosphere thing is really about quid pro quo.  I need a witness, you need a witness, so we’re not all just wandering around for days and years with no one really seeing us.

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