December 17, 2017

Do We Really Live In More Dangerous Times? By Lillian Sanderson

There was a time when parents would tell their children how easy they had it because of available public transportation.


Now we can tell our grandchildren the reverse.


When I was a child, 10 or 12 years old, my friends and I could take a bus anywhere in my city with a friend and none of our parents worried.  When I was also that age, my friends and I rode our bicycles for several miles to go to stores, library, or pools, or to visit someone who moved from our immediate neighborhood.   None of our parents balked at the idea.


I did not grow up in a little town where everyone knew my name.  I was in one of the five largest metropolitan areas of the country.  I did not go walk unfamiliar neighborhoods, but if I had a destination and a friend to accompany me, there were very few limitations put on us.


Today’s children cannot do this, I don’t believe, in any city in the U.S.A.   Even small towns and suburban areas keep a tight rein on their kids.  We do not feel safe.  We do not trust other people to not hurt our precious children.


Even with the constant communication afforded us with cell phones, and photos snapped or videos taken at crosswalks and in stores, we are still filled with anxiety.  Some parents won’t even allow their children to attend school, choosing instead to buy online instructions to teach them at home.  The feeling is that danger lurks around every corner that is not home.


I am not sure how we got this way, but my suspicion is that while the technology we dearly love helps us keep in touch, it has also exposed us to the dark side.  We can see immediately all the sadness and pain people inflict on each other by just watching the news updates.  Once imaginary “monsters” hid under our beds; now we can see the faces of evil doers for real.  Evil is not new.   What is new is the availability of the details, and the photos, and the sounds, and the results of evil acts.


Scary shows have always been popular and cause nightmares in the too sensitive.  I fear that real life atrocities played out on the news and repeated in dramas may have caused traumas and a society of distrust.  Repeating and ranting hateful slogans pretending to represent a political cause just add to our stress.  Nightmares caused by real events are what returning soldiers have endured forever.  Sometimes I feel like the whole country is suffering from a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, fear of reliving a nightmare.


I wish there was a solution.  Maybe time will change us like it always seems to.  Maybe there will be some wonderful magic wand discovered to eliminate the fear and replace it with trust.  But in the meantime, since the unknown is so scary, if we all get to know our neighbors a bit better, little by little we can smile at each other, wave, then talk, and then …who knows…we might like them and the world would seem just a little less frightening.

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Lillian is the midwestern mother of 5 grown children and a grandmother of 10.




  1. Caroline Taylor says:

    Great article…my husband and I have had this very discussion before and completely agree…the same bad guys have been there all along…only now, we hear about them and see them up close and personal. I try to allow my kids as much fredom and adventures as possible…it is a challenge these days for sure!

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