Shelter

Well my blog a day idea is going south. I need to do three today to catch up.

I’m putting off this one because it is hard. I don’t want to be offensive and that is a possibility because I really don’t know what I’m talking about. It is also an issue where I think there is a problem, but I have no solution.

It is a funny world. We are way more connected now than ever before, but still just as isolated. Transportation, communication, and the Internet have us living next door to people on the other side of the world. But it seems we know less of our neighbours.

The gaps between rich and poor, criminal and non. These are so much greater. Ideologies separate us – maybe not with the intensity of the Cold War, but maybe more violently for that. Religious and political fanaticism seems rampant.

During the Cold War, the bad guys were across the ocean. They had missiles, but they weren’t among us. Now? My opinion is that there still aren’t bad guys among us. But it sure seems like their might be.

It is an era of fear. We are more closely connected, but that brings it closer.

The world is a changed place. And it impacts how we raise the next generation.

No one I know is raising kids to be intolerant. Quite the opposite. They are raising kids to be more tolerant. We know the only way to conquer such ephemeral fears is education.

But we are protecting them more. Both their personal safety and their exposure to the world. Examples? No one walks to school any more. But violent crime isn’t actually up. Not significantly. And most such crimes are committed by people the victim knows anyway. Not the crazy strangers.

And ideas. When I was growing up the closest to porn I saw was the Sears catalogue. Now it is two clicks away. The same with expressions of hate (not that it is in Sears, but that it is close). So we monitor closely. What is the choice?

I don’t think that we see ourselves as living in fear, but the extra shelter provided to kids these days must communicate that there is something to fear. (At least I think so. I’d say this is the controversial idea. )

I long for my childhood ideal. I was a homebody. Nose stuck in a book. But when booted out for my own good I had the whole town. I explored the library. I read things that I didn’t understand and now disagree with.

I played in the stream. With friends, but 20 minutes out of touch with civilization. I biked to school from age 7 up.

I was certainly still sheltered. I encountered little that was truly ugly in the world. But with that freedom, I never had the impression that the world was something to fear. (Actually that is not quite true. I was a timid kid. I conjured many of my own fears. But I was made to face those. Not shelter from them. And the Hulk in my bedroom poster never did come to get me.)

Is the world so different now that some of that freedom can’t be restored? I warned at the beginning that I have no answers. I have no clue.

Maybe we are at the right level of shelter for our times. I hope we are not. I hope that we are over sheltering kids. The essential nature of people hasn’t changed right?

And thus we end very wishy washy.

I wish I knew how I would act as a parent myself.

it

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