Times they are a changing.
I’m pretty confident I’ve used this lead sentence in the past. As the mom of two, ages 8 and 11, I can just about promise I will indeed use them again. As an ‘older’ mom - as in my high school was a pilot/test school for the Macintosh Computer type ‘older’ - there is very little about their educational life which is synonymous to mine.
Two weeks ago we observed the 14th Anniversary of September 11. A day, which single handedly changed the world we live in and still sparks strong memories for many Americans.
At that time, my children were merely thoughts, in total honesty thoughts I reconsidered as I watched the destruction. What had happened to this world? Why would I want to bring more life to such a planet? Events which followed and became public, eased my fears. There is good in this world, lots of it. That’s what I learned from 9/11.
As a community we see it time and time again. Most recently in the way of the Butte/Valley fires and the tireless efforts of our own selfless community members. Indeed there is lots and lots of good.
Now please join me in a fast forward of sorts as my 8- and 11-year-old attend their third and fifth grade years of elementary school. Again, times they are a changing.
Fire Drills and Earthquake Drills are still commonplace, just as they were when I was a kid. But as the crazy of the world grows, so too does the need for a new and now familiar drill to my young students . The Lock-Down Drill.
Earlier this school year, their school had such activity which was not a drill, but response to a questionable person in the vicinity of their school. I work in a place where yes, I hear about the activity via police scanner, long before the ‘All Call.’ I’ve had to train myself to be less reactionary and more trusting. Holding onto faith and knowledge that the right people are responding and all will be fine.
Then one morning not too long ago, my daughter awoke in tears.
“Mommy, I had a nightmare. There was a man on our playground with a big gun and we were all locked in our classrooms.”
So, it seems the once popular Boogie Man has a new location and description. I was stunned.
Thinking quickly I reassured my daughter that it was just a very bad dream and that she is absolutely safe at school.
“The right people are watching out for you there,” I reassured her, struggling as I did. This is not conversation I was familiar with from my own childhood.
Last week all the news was abuzz with the story of Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old science enthusiast who brought a clock he created to school to show his teacher. A clock, which was mistaken for a bomb of all things, and resulted in some serious and unnecessary circumstances.
Again, times they are a changing. An 8-year-old with nightmares of Lockdown and a 14-year-old arrested for making a clock. What’s a parent to do?
Truthfully, I haven’t the foggiest notion. What I do know is I try and empower my duo with as much positive knowledge as possible. Doing my best each time to find the positive spin, to make it ‘no big deal’, yet educate them at the same time.
Sure, reality is we need to be more cautious without being paranoid. Children need to be prepared and informed. Faith and trust in the right people needs to be restored in their little souls. Reassurance and belief in our words are our biggest ally.
Fourteen years later, I have no regrets on bringing those little people into the world. They offer two critical and important aspects to life: Life lessons and future hope. That’s what I choose to gain from times they are a changing. Not the doom and gloom that one might imagine. Nope. I choose to see the possibility of how this generation can lead us to a more loving, accepting and caring world.
At least… that’s my prayer. - Amen
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.