electric boogaloo

then again

Honeyfern is an accredited little pocket of pedagogical bliss outside of Atlanta. Project based, warm and brilliant and full of muchness. Last month, the founder Suzanne fell off a cliff. You can read about it here . Spoiler: and then all of a sudden, her husband died.

Just like that their twelve year old daughter was sobbing and trying to understand this new world where nothing is for sure, the very sidewalk might fall out from under you any time, and no amount of nice safe parks and convenient Hobby Lobbies and chain restaurants can keep it from happening. It could’ve happened anywhere, in any kind of childhood, in any size town. But here even here? We live in a bubble! This is an outrage. What do we even live here for if we can’t ban things like this from happening? We have home owner’s associations for everything out here and it really seems like deadly car crashes is something they’d work on.

So yeah, like I said maybe kids who experience hardship turn out stronger, richer in character. But counter to that point, screw that. Cicily should have her dad back.

I don’t want my kids to feel unsafe or ashamed, like ever; those are the kinds of things that change who you are down to your DNA. But I also wouldn’t want them to be devastated by something like this because my goodness.

When we talk about how stress builds character, what is that? What does character even mean? We want kids to grow up to be compassionate and resilient and adaptable. We want them to be able to solve new problems, to have original insights. That’s the stuff of character, the texture of a healthy, fully-formed human mind.

Of course we can’t and shouldn’t protect them from every sad or difficult thing that might ever happen, but like someone said in the comments — there’s no reason to go looking for trouble either. Are suburbia’s rubber-padded playgrounds too safe? Maybe. But there’s a difference between challenges and trauma, and we don’t need to add alligators just for the sake of alligators.

posted by electric boogaloo in Journal and have Comments (6)

6 Responses to “then again”

  1. Nimble says:

    I was just thinking about how my anxiety level about my children’s well being has gone down a lot in the last few years. They are now 11 and almost 9. I think they are going to grow up and be fine and interesting people. But we never know what is around the next corner. There but for the grace of God go I.

  2. Kylie says:

    I embarrassed by my own stupidity and know this is going to kill the poignant moment of reflection you’ve created in these posts and possibly even be offensive, but I have to confess that when I read your post I thought you were saying that Suzanne really did fall off a cliff and then, after that tragedy, her husband died too and I was all OMG, their poor orphaned daughter. And then I was really confused by the linked post of hers about her husband (hang on a moment – didn’t she fall off a cliff before he died?), so, yeah I’m stupid and I certainly don’t mean to diminish the tragedy but I was relieved to work out that Suzanne is OK and that your were simply engaging metaphor.

  3. electric boogaloo says:

    That’s awesome. Hahaha, well by that measure Suzanne is having a much better month than she could’ve had!

  4. Suzannah says:

    Ha! I guess it is a matter of perspective. If I actually fell off a cliff, and then my DH died, Sicily would certainly have a DNA-changing February. That did give me a chuckle…

    This is a lovely post that I accidented upon (I made up that word, yes, I did). I can say affirmatively that stress did change me until I started HoneyFern (12 years teaching public school will do that), and then it has changed me in a different way since Dane died. Truly, though, it is the unexpected support and kindness of people like you, and like Mandy, who have made it less awful. Thanks. :)

  5. electric boogaloo says:

    Oh Suzannah. <3 I promise I normally get to know people better before I grab their lives without asking.

  6. John says:

    I was the same way. I used to be naturally siknny for the longest time, to the point where I actually had to take supplements to GAIN weight. The puberty hit and I got ridiculous curves and my weight started yo-yoing.About two months ago, I switched to vegetarianism. Yes, out of moral reasons, but mainly for health reasons. A few months prior, I had cut out red meat and when I ate it about a month after giving it up, it made me feel awful. I seriously just felt like a lump. Now that I cut out ALL meats, I’m finding I have to eat more vegetables and fruits just to fill my plate up. I’ve also been eating a lot of dairy and having protein shakes to make up for protein. My energy level is much better, I’ve shed 15 pounds since the winter, and I feel AWESOME. Consider giving it a try, you never know how it’ll affect your body!Cheers,Molly

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