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.