Keeping Her World Small

 

Keeping Her World Small

 

One of the attractions that we made sure to visit this spring on our trip to Disney World was the It’s A Small World ride. It’s not as exciting as Space Mountain or Pirates of the Caribbean but even after all the times I’ve visited there is something I find quaint about it’s theme of international unity, even as I hate having the song stuck in my head for the several weeks after.

The ride is dated, first opening at the Florida park in 1971, but the truth remains that the world IS small, and getting smaller all the time. Technology and a nonstop news cycle now allow immediate communication and awareness of events virtually anywhere, at anytime. This silly little website has seen visitors from 138 different countries and independent pieces of territory out of a possible 247. Admittedly many of those visits have probably led to disappointment for some googling my retrospectively poor moniker Thirsty Daddy, and others have been hacking attempts from Eastern Europe, but I’d still like to thank my Kazakhastani and Tanzanian readers for their support.

To my daughter the world is very small. It consists of the places she’s been, the people she knows. A plane ride to Florida takes the same amount of time as a car ride to New Hampshire so to her they are the same distance away. She doesn’t understand why she rarely sees her cousins from Arizona when she gets to visit with the ones down the highway all the time. We’ve come home from minor league baseball games to find my wife watching the Red Sox and she refuses to believe that the ballpark on television isn’t the same one that we just left. She thinks I’m teasing her.

Her world is small and I’m going to let it stay that way for a while. Sept 11 just passed and to her it was just another day. She doesn’t know that daddy has been worried about friends of his in Texas and Florida these past few weeks. She doesn’t know that some of her classmates may have a harder time in their lives just because of the color of their skin or who they choose to love. She doesn’t know that there are children her age across the world that are going to bed hungry, others that are carrying assault rifles and preparing for battle. She doesn’t know the potential devastation that could happen just because two men in power need to prove that they have the biggest genitalia.

I’ve been told that this is the wrong approach, sometimes by those whose opinions on these matters I hold in pretty high regard.

I’ve been told that by hiding her from the world I am leaving her ill prepared for the realities of it, that raising those that will bring about social change needs to begin young, that this attitude is the epitome of middle class white privilege.

They may be right.

They may right but for now my daughter is happy and I want her to stay that way.

I think that there is a balance that can be found. She’s not “being raised color blind”, a catchphrase used by ultra-liberal white people to pat themselves on the back and derided by those that see the ignorance in the philosophy, she is being raised to understand that everybody is different, in many different ways, and that it is those differences that make us unique. She can be taught the importance of body autonomy without knowing what the word rape means, can understand the importance of recycling and conservation without worrying about rising sea levels, can understand “stranger danger” without being afraid to ask for help if she needs it.

These are things keep me up at night, she sleeps soundly. She still believes that people are inherently good, in the kindness of strangers, that the bad guys always lose in the end. I know better. I know better and the argument that she is old enough to understand how things really are is also my argument for not wanting her to.

Her world is small. It’s safe. I acknowledge that we are very fortunate to have it be so, but I can’t feel guilty for that. I won’t.

Maybe I’m wrong.

Maybe I’m wrong but my daughter is happy and carefree and kind and brave. She’s the first one to help up a classmate that’s fallen, to offer a hug to one that’s upset, to stick up for somebody being picked on.

She’s six.

For now that’s enough.

 

 

 

 

29 thoughts on “Keeping Her World Small”

  1. It’s nice to shield them while we can, but I think at 6, she is in school now and soon you will need to be able to start discussing scary things with her, like lock-down or shelter in place drills, before the other kids start doing it. Not because they are being mean but because they are scared and need to talk about it with someone. Hold her tight because nothing feels safer than a father’s arms.

    1. They have already had drills and there are many conversations that we’ve had that I’d of rather not. The genesis of this post came from those that seem to feel we should be watching the news every night with our children and discussing everything we see. I think that there is a time and place for that, I just don’t think that it’s yet.

  2. I agree with you to be honest. Whilst kids do need to know a bit of what is going on in the world around them they are already learning & taking in so much they don’t need to be constantly worried about what is going on. We do explain big local news to our 7 year old in a very basic way so she doesn’t hear it from someone else & panic but we don’t go out of our way to keep her updated. School life news is much more important to her right now! #thatfridaylinky

  3. My eldest is 9 and she saw the news about the attacks in London recently. She was really quite distressed by it and wanted me to cancel my work trip to London. Keep her small and wrapped in cotton wool as long as u can!
    #kcacols

    1. it’s heartbreaking when they start worrying about us. Its supposed to stay the other way around, but I suppose that’s impossible

  4. The Small World Ride is terrifying. My friends laughed at me when I told them this but they understood as the nightmarish treacle slow ride took hold and the music looped and looped while the animatronics clicked their lifeless jaws…anyway…

    My cubs are too young to understand the news or why sometimes their mum worries about papa getting home safely. It will come at some point though.

    #KCACOLS

  5. Totally agree with you. Surely it’s important to keep their innocence for as long as possible. My son is 3 and I’ve just recently had to start talking to him about death because a family member died, as well as my own dad dying when I was younger. He asked where he is and we talk about Grandad Chris (or Crisp as my son calls him) to keep his memory alive. It’s diffixult thought isn’t it? You don’t want them thinking that anyone who gets poorly or old is going to go away, I could barely explain why I was being sick when I’ve had a stomach bug this weekend so how do I explain nasty people wanting to harm others and such? Great post. #KCACOLS

    1. mine has her own ideas about death and God and Heaven that are kind of cute. A friend’s dog just passed recently so it’s something that has come up again. Its sad to see them worry about us at that age

  6. I understand your stance – like a cocoon, we need to wrap them in safety, bubble wrap, a helmet and our love. I have a feeling, whether those agree or disagree with your approach, she will turn out great. A) You’re her dad and your writing about, staying up and worrying about this. B) There is only a short window of innocence. C) Our world is a scary place now, no matter what age you are in. She sounds like she will fight for social justice already. A little extra play-doh and Papa’s love can only help. #ThatFridayLinky xo

    1. she’s a helper, the first one to offer a hand to a fallen friend. All I can do is try and encourage that and hope for the best

  7. I try and discuss things as and when they come up tbh. my son is 4 and the other day hubby and I were talking about a huge crash that happened near us. a few people had died. I didn’t realise my son was listening in and he had a few questions. I try and just be open and honest without going in to too much detail. #KCACOLS

    1. I always try and answer her questions as honestly as I can, I just don’t volunteer information that might be upsetting that she would otherwise be oblivious to

  8. I loved the small world ride, seriously it’s difficult how much info we give our children at 5/6 years old really interesting read mate Thank you for linking to #ThatFridayLinky Please come back next week

  9. I think it’s hard to find the balance between shielding them from unnecessary news and preparing them for the real world. I don’t think there is a right answer. No body knows their children more than their parents so it’s up to us to do what we think is best. All children are different and can interpret and understand news differently. Personally we talk to our daughter because she asks questions and we want to be honest with her. Had she not asked the questions…would we have talked about current affairs..I’m not so sure. They do grow up way too fast!
    Thanks for joining #kcacols

    1. I think you make an important point by saying that all kids are different. What one may be able to understand, another might not.

  10. I agree to an extent – it’s lovely to shelter our children and keep their world safe. We live in Cornwall which is pretty much a safe and non-scary place plus growing up on a farm in the middle of nowhere secluded me from anything scary even more. However when I became an adult, moved out and had children and found out about the big bad scary world I was and still am scared of it. If I watch the news I get paranoid that we’re going to be blown up next year when we go to see Ed Sheeran and I was annoyed at my parents for keeping me in this little blur so I’m going to try and explain these things to my children as they grow in the hope that they aren’t a scared adult #KCACOLS

    1. I think there is definitely a time when its part of our job to prepare them for reality, I just wish reality would change a bit before I got there

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