Saturday, September 11, 2010

Stupid Parents?

Whenever I read stories like this, my first reaction is "People cannot really be that stupid."

Based on surveys Barnes collected, the top five worries of parents are, in order:

School snipers
Dangerous strangers

I wonder what the survey methodology was. It is really capturing what people actually take time and effort to prevent, or does it ask the first thing that pops into peoples' minds?

My parents, and the parents of most people in our social circle, had a good sense of the things that actually hurt children. They made sure that I wore seat belts, and helmets, and learned to swim at an early age. They made sure I had reasonably nutritious food without being obsessive about it. They maintained a clean and safe environment, and then let me play around in it. They encouraged me to play outside, where I got plenty of scrapes and bruises, which taught me how to be careful and play safely.

But maybe other parents are that stupid. Politicians seem to earn votes by proposing policies that focus on these kinds of things, and I often meet people who do not know how to swim. At first I assumed that not teaching children to swim was limited to low-class and neglectful parents, but then I meet otherwise well-cared-for upper-middle-class children who were never taught to swim. This always stuns me.

How will we ever have a rational civilization if people cannot be bothered to do some basic research on what actually is the biggest threat to the lives and safety of their beloved progeny?

1 comment:

Amanda said...

I've been giving this one a lot of thought. The things parents are most afraid of are things that they have no control over. I could do nothing to prevent anything on that list from happening. However, I do insure that my kids buckle up everytime they get in the car, wear helmets when they should, take swim lessons, talk to them about drugs, etc. I have been afraid for my kids over the years over a wide variety of things. Most of the time my fear leads to discussions; a reminder that I need to talk to them about whatever issue at hand. I doupt the fears will ever go away. I also remember to pray for my kids when I feel some irrational fear creeping up.