When I took the girls to the beach, I was pleasantly surprised at how well they handled the situation. Both of them used good listening ears, played nicely and showed a great respect for the water. The thing that pleased me most was that they did these things while not showing any real fear. This is a big deal for me because, like every other parent on the planet, I am always struggling with how to walk that fine line between teaching my kids to look out for themselves and teaching my kids to be paranoid wrecks.
Certainly we want to teach our kids that the world can be a dicey place. You do need to be aware of safety at all times, but when does "caution" become a fear culture? Sure my girls should grow up knowing to wear their seat belts, be careful on boats, be aware of what they eat and eventually (be-still my heart) make wise choices about the biggies like drinking, drugs and even the sex. However, I don't want them to be the kids who are panicked every time their faces get splashed with water or who freak out when presented with non-organic snack.
In our current parenting culture this is especially challenging. In a world where one gets a lot of "mileage" out of being the "concerned mom" I can see how it is easy to race across that line and just keep running. Major good mom points are handed out to those who are the most apoplectic about "safety" and "thinking of the children and our futures." Before you know it, every single thing is riddled with hysteria and worry. Not only is it just exhausting to be that worked up all the time over everything, but I am not sure that teaching our kids to treat the world that way is healthy.
What is the answer here? I am sure I don't know. I guess we all just need to wade through these murky waters doing the best we can to keep our kids healthy and safe while not turning them all into total neurotics. As is so often the case with parenting, you just make the best choices you can at the time and hope for the best. I can't protect my kids from everything the world puts out there and maybe (on a small scale) that is okay.