>During our trip to Champaign this last weekend Cory brought up a book that he has recently started reading. Cory is a real dork when it comes to statistics, so no surprise that he thinks Freakinomics is a really interesting read. Must run in the family because Evan had read it too and had a lot to say about it.
As I mentioned in my last post, Evan and Karen have great kids. They are all teenagers, and they are very friendly, confident, smart and productive people. At least partially a product I am sure, of the way that they were raised. Something that I have always admired about Evan and Karen, is the lack of anxiety in their home. They always seem to be such relaxed, go with the flow and everything will be ok kind of people.
When discussing parenting and statistics, Evan pointed out the likelihood that anything bad will happen to your child is so low, it isn’t even worth worrying about in most cases. Their kids don’t run wild by any means, but they do have a lot of freedom, and I am sure that has helped to build their confidence.
So there you have it, statistically, your kids will be fine, they won’t be abducted from the playground, might as well let them have some freedom and learn to take care of themselves.* Man I wish I could do that. This is my goal, to not feed my own anxiety to my children, I know that is what is best for them, but this is a huge challenge for me, and I don’t think that this is something that will ever come easily. I want my girls to grow up carefree and confident.
Juxtapose this realization on my part with some heartbreaking news that I heard this week. I am a member of an online community comprised mostly of mothers of young children. It is so wonderful to belong to a group of caring individuals that share each others joys and heartaches as we all raise our children and learn from each other.
One member of this community announced this week that her nine year old daughter has been diagnosed with a 100% fatal neurological degenerative disease (Juvenile Battens Disease). She had mysteriously began going blind, and in combination with some personality and learning challenges that had developed after she had turned 5 years old, her mother made it her mission to find out what was going wrong with her child. Now she knows that this is the first step, and her child will eventually deteriorate until she passes away in her early adulthood. This isn’t a woman that I am particularly close to, but my heart is breaking for her. I can not imagine anything worse than watching your own child’s life robbed of them slowly as they deteriorate. The odds of this happening to a child? This disease strikes 2 to 4 of every 100,000 live births in the United States. Life isn’t fair. No amount of statistics can reason away the truth when it hits you.
I really do try to let go of my worries and my heartache over things I can’t change, but it isn’t something I am any good at. I have to remind myself that this world is cruel to those that live here, without any regard to the kind of life you lead, and all you can do is play the odds, hope for the best and worry about the worst only if it happens to you. That is the healthy, well adjusted way to get by.
For some reason I have a really hard time not worrying about the worst when it happens to anyone. This is probably why some would say that I am a “bleeding heart liberal.” It’s true…I can’t help myself. I have a tendency to take a walk in the shoes of others no matter how cramped they may be, and most times I just wish I could let it go and be thankful it isn’t me. On days like today, it hurts to be me, and yet I know I have no idea of the pain of those that have been hit with the short end of a deadly statistic, and I hope I never do.
If you want to say a prayer for Kate and John and their daughter Rachel, I am sure they can use all the prayers they can get.
**disclaimer: I am not suggesting sending my 3 year old off to the park alone, and the Champaign Coobs’ would not either…remember their children are teenagers and I am speaking in generalities about my own children and my ability to let them be little and learn for themselves without stepping in all the time, and not worrying about what might happen to them, as unlikely as that might be. (Just in case you were getting nervous. :))