You risk raising children who are as fearful and controlling as you are. You risk raising children who will not do anything if it isn’t safe and if it doesn’t benefit them directly, who calculate rather than enjoy. You risk teaching them to live by fear when you think you’re teaching them prudence. You risk all this to keep them safe, true, but also so that you don’t have to worry.
These are losses no one sees. They don’t rip your life apart and make the headline news. But they are serious losses nevertheless. It is not the way to raise a St. Paul or St. Peter, a Daniel or a St. Perpetua, a Dorothy Day or a Bl. Teresa of Calcutta or the Christians martyred on the beach in Libya. God calls us to raise children who will live so that someday a sword may pierce our heart.
It’s a small thing, letting a boy wander around Manhattan on his scooter. Almost certainly, nothing will happen to him. But it doesn’t feel like a small thing when everything in your world teaches you to fear the worst and demands you do everything to avoid it. It’s easier to say no, just in case. But we shouldn’t. Or rather, we can’t.
David Mills, former executive editor of First Things, is a senior editor of The Stream, editorial director for Ethika Politika, and columnist for several Catholic publications. His latest book is Discovering Mary.Follow him @DavidMillsWrtng.