SAFE OR MISSING OUT?
Following the tragic news of the death of little Tia Sharp this week in New Addington, Croydon. I have been reflecting on the sad reality that our children face today.
We do not have the luxury of living in the countryside, up a mountain or on a farm. We live in what can only be called the "burbs", whilst this has many benefits, one of the main drawbacks is the lack of freedom our children have in such an environment.
Gone are the days of playing out front with neighbours. Now our fences are so tall, by necessity to keep those who would harm or steal from us out, that my daughter is forced to climb ontop our brick B-B-Q to see the little girl next door!
Watching her perilously perching atop the B-B-Q, leaning on our 6ft fence to chat with the neighbours child, it hit me that our children pay the price for the society that we as adults have made. Due to the violence and depravity by which we are surrounded, our babies struggle to connect in a spontaneous, organic manner without artificial barriers between them such as fences or even us as well meaning parents and our super organized play-dates.
No more running off into the woods to play with friends like The Famous Five, no more finding hidden nooks like little Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden. No more adventures in wardrobes in dark corners like the Pevensey children in The Chronicles of Narnia.
Forests! Dark corners of a strangers home! Disappearing where we can't see them! We as parents get itchy just imagining it.
As parents we no longer feel safe and this transmits to our children, we don't feel that they can be let out of our sight. What does this mean for childhood? My daughter has been reading the news about little Tia Sharp and has been asking if she has been found yet. As I watch her play so innocently, I know that we are going to have to have a conversation that starts with "Tia died baby....." and end with "They found her at her Grandmas house....."
What kind of conversation is this I am forced to have? Whilst I may try to avoid it, the monsters I strive to protect her from are being thrust into her consciousnesses by the depraved minds that are all too close to home.
Do our children have to miss out on the freedom of childhood so we can keep them safe? Perhaps it it time to buy a few acres in the country for Bambina to roam around on? I wish....