Safety (noun): The condition of being protected from or unlikely to cause danger, risk, or injury.
With everything going on in the world today, I wanted to dedicate a series on child safety. This post is the 1st of three safety topics I want to cover. As a parent, safety is a top priority. Making sure our little ones don’t trip and fall and bust their heads or ensuring that they know the signs of stranger danger and don’t willingly get into cars with creeps offering them lolipops. You know, the easy stuff we as moms can protect them against. However, there are just certain things you cannot keep them safe from. Yes Dreux will run and fall and scrape her knees, or she may fall in love with a complete loser who breaks her heart (Lord forbid) but what about violence? How do you raise socially conscious children in a world where danger lurks around every corner? In a world where you want your children to live life fearlessly but responsibly? In a CITY where certain areas are just not safe!
Disclaimer: This topic may raise a few eyebrows, may turn a few stomachs and may produce a few “side eyes” but it is an ongoing battle I am faced with, as some of our close family and friends live in areas of the city I don’t particularly deem as “safe”. Where gun violence parades the streets and innocent lives are taken. This is in no way to negate the fact that these very communities breed intelligent individuals and successful businesses or that these communities are working hard to highlight the positive aspects of the community. Its simply a platform to ask...what do I do?
Safety is a Non-negotiable
For the last few months we have been in pursuit of becoming homeowners. Finding a home in the city of Chicago has been quite a difficult task for numerous reasons. Wherever we decided to live, safety was the number one priority. Affordability, square footage, and comfortability all followed. But my family’s safety was number one, hands down. And while I know we live in a world full of crime, I personally just feel some things can be avoided. I’m sure everyone has either heard or read about the increasing crime rate in the city. Its no secret that gun violence is on the rise and more and more lives are lost at the hands of someone else. Our children, our babies, our kids are being robbed of their youth. So as a mother, how do I ensure my children are safe?
City Guy vs. Suburban Girl
Growing up on two opposite ends of the city, my husband and I have different views on what constitutes as “safe”. At the end of the day, “no neighborhood is safe, but some are safer than others”. Sorry but it’s true. Yes I can mugged anywhere, but the chances of it happening over HERE are SLIGHTLY higher…I’m just saying. Lets consider the odds here. Growing up in what I guess would be considered the “inner city”, my husband has a different outlook and perspective on the city. “We’ve lived on this block for years. Nothing ever happens on this block”. To him, it’s safe. To me I’m locking doors and looking over my shoulder every five minutes and flitching at the sound of driving over a chip bag mistakenly taken for a gun shot. (Sad but true story) This is not to down any neighborhood in my beloved city; but to question how do I, as parent to a young girl –and an unborn child whose sex is still unknown –protect them with everything in me while respecting my husband and his ideas of what safe is? Do we completely avoid certain areas of the city where the crime is at an all time high, even if that means distancing ourselves from certain family members and friends because I’m uncomfortable? Do we skip out on Thanksgiving dinner because cousin "such-and-such" lives a few blocks from where a recent shooting occurred? Or do we go with a long laundry list of stipulations and rules for our children's visit:
- No playing outside
- Avoid all windows
- Be in doors before the streetlights
- Stay away from certain blocks
- Oh and while we’re at it, just don’t leave the house at all the entire time our kids are visiting you. (LOL)
Is that fair? Does fairness even matter when it comes to your children’s safety? Or do I just bite the bullet (no pun intended) and pray the Lord will cover them wherever they may go? Am I overreacting or is my husband not reacting enough? Am I being too "scary" because my upbringing in the so-called-suburbs didn't expose me to the true dangers of the city firsthand? Granted, my hubby and I are very spiritual people and we’ve been taught to “turn it over to God”. But doesn’t God give you the ability to make informed decisions and common sense that should be applied in any difficult situation you face? Is saving face and pleasing family and friends worth potentially putting your children in what you perceive as danger?
No one prepped me on this. The kids go wherever the parents allow them to go, right? But when the parents are conflicted with what constitutes as “safe”, Houston we have a problem. What is a wife and mother to do?