“Honey, let’s get the child car safety seat that’s rated barely sufficient.”
“Alison’s teacher just called, he said that with a tutor she could move up a grade. I told him we are saving the money to get cable.”
Most car safety seats are thrown out — never to have been needed. The same is probably true for car rollover bars, airbags, and most seat-belts for that matter. Yet manufacturers manage to get us to spend inordinate amounts on these and other things we never need by waving the worry word in front of our eyes.
They need only flash a picture of a kid in a cast – or worse – and the number one safety car seat is plugged into the back seat facing forward, quicker than you can say heartburn.
The message here is not: don’t be safe, but rather to point out, up there with fame, success and money, worry is about as powerful a motivator as you can get. And in that sense, every dime for every feature is being used – to assuage the worry.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be working. No matter how cutting edge that car seat is, the worry doesn’t seem to go down.
As soon as we mitigate the worry in one area we worry in another. We worry our children will be healthy, we worry they will stay off drugs and alcohol. We worry they will earn a living, and we worry they will be happily married. I could go on for pages, but all this you know already. However, there is one worry most parents don’t worry about.
You might be thinking, “Oh, great, like I need something else to worry about, Swine Flu, terrorist alerts and sleeping pilots, isn’t enough!”
But you do need to worry about this one. Not because it will make your life worse, but because it will make it better.
I am not talking about some superfluous or immaterial worry, will my child’s passport photo look like a police line-up; when they grow-up will they know how to change a light bulb. No, this is one of the biggies in the list of things parents should worry about.
It’s also not a remote occurrence, something that happens rarely – it afflicts many unprotected children and then can cripple them for life.
It’s also not a worry you can’t do anything about, and it’s not something that needs immense time, money or resources to prevent.
Truth be told, most parents are the cause, not the cure.
I am talking about worry itself.
Just like mommy bears teach their little cubs to pick berries, and daddy lions teach their young how to hunt, most parents teach their children the wonderful world of worry.
Life happens, despite our best efforts. We can no more prevent it in our lives than we can in our children’s. So, if we want to give our children a qualitatively better life, then the best we can do is teach them to not worry about it.
Ensuring our children have straight teeth and a fancy car in the driveway to an impressive mansion, is not going to give them the wonderful life we would like for them, if they worry about it.
Worrying your children will be healthy and wealthy is normal, but more meaningful and beneficial for them (let alone you) is to worry that they will actually worry about those very things.
Most people learned to worry from their parents; and people who don’t worry – learned that from their parents as well. Unless you are happy with your worrying, then you will be unhappy knowing your children will worry just like you!