So do we become helicopter parents? Become the reclusive family that never let's their children out of their sight? Do we infuse our children with our own fears and teach them to see horrors around every corner? My parents raised me with a community that largely supported healthy behaviors, an extended family that invested time and care in me. When my children came along a woman apologized for telling me that an older child in the neighborhood had been observed a block over teaching my 8-year-old to bike-hitchhike by grabbing onto the ice cream truck to save peddling! Man, when I was a child that news would have beat me home by many minutes if indeed the "other mom" had not actually dragged me off the bike and walked me home briskly. Today kids know most people will not step in "for fear of law suit" and too many parents are excessively defensive about their children's errors. They are kids, for Pete's sake!
So what is the answer? We do the best we can to pay attention to our children. We work to get to know neighbors and PTA families. We connect at church and volunteering. We encourage of children's friends to play at our house. We wear our knees out praying. That last is the most important, I think. Because, although we can not be everywhere, God certainly is. Although we do not have answers, God certainly does. And we must be courageous to speak gently and tenderly showing concern and love to children we observe involved in bullying or who are depressed or to offer help to bring a meal to an overwhelmed parent/s on our block or at our work.
Tired? Overwhelmed yourself? Stretched thin? In one way or another so are we all. But if we are breathing, we are able to pray and find ways to show love, even it if is just a note of encouragement or a kind word. For most of us, the options are truly vast.