Last night my 10 year old went to the neighborhood park with a few other girls from the block. As she was gone I couldn’t stop listening for anything out of the ordinary and worrying about her in general. Last week there was a drive by shooting spraying about 100 rounds for several blocks on the street where the park is. I kept wondering if it was OK to let her go to the park but she has done so on many occasions. I kept wondering if I am a bad parent for letting her go to the park and honestly for letting my kids live in an area that has drive-by shootings.
But then I thought of the other girls who were at the park. Their parents can’t live elsewhere, their parents don’t have other options. That made me think about if any kids deserve to live in a neighborhood where there are drive-by shootings near a park?
I have been thinking a lot lately about communal responsibility vs individual responsibility. In my mind I want to think every kid is as important as my own. I want to make decisions so it will help the good of all kids but in reality, that is really hard to do. As a mom, we are built to protect our kids and to give them the very best. But when we do that, sometimes the other kids don’t get what they need to thrive.
Living in the inner city of Milwaukee for the last 15 years has taught me that too many kids don’t have enough resources. And when kids lack the resources from the community, it causes them to languish through life. I don’t know how to fix this issue but I think if we start to become aware of this happening, it might help. Noticing when we are choosing the best for our kid and thinking about what it does for someone who has less resources. Noticing when we could be taking away from kids who need it more. Noticing when we can have our kids take second place so another kid can blossom.
How do you think parents can change their mindset to a communal responsibility more? I would love to hear other ideas to make a change.