Two contrasting pieces of news surfaced this past week as dads did dangerous things around their children, putting them and others at risk. I will avoid the word, “presumably” as the news story used this word to describe something that was clearly shown in the video clip that followed. Danger is all around but there are ways of checking it and there are ways of causing it.
The first story was about two dads who got into a shouting match at an elementary school dropoff when one dad pulled a gun and shot at the other dad, striking his car. No one was injured. Both were taken into custody. Incredibly, the news report ended with words from the Police that this “was not an active shooting situation.” I’m not sure what would make it one; presumably in this case, the shooter was only trying to hit one person and didn’t try hard enough to succeed, I guess.
After you let your breath back out, think about several other dads at Philadelphia Phillies baseball games who put their young children at risk by catching foul balls and even one hard-hit homerun ball (backhanded, no less). Baseball fans will quickly argue that the dads were in fact, protecting their little ones, not endangering them, to which I would agree. But most moms would cringe at something as dangerous as a major league baseball coming at such great speed toward a baby in a dad’s arms. He’s already busy and has only one hand to use to prevent a tragedy. But he does it with grace and skill. The news story was about several such incidents that have occurred since 2015 at that one franchise.
I’d like to underscore how dads are always on the job of protecting their offspring. Whether fixing a car with them crawling around underneath or watching a baseball game with them in a sling on their chest, dads protect their children. With mere seconds to think and react with precision, children are spared painful injury because dad was on the job—no matter what he was doing at the time. Just think about those YouTube videos where dads catch a baby falling off of anything and everything imaginable.
Danger is a part of life. We can trip and fall; our children can fall, others can injure us or them in accidents that aren’t even predictable. Who would think that the car line at school would be a dangerous place to take your child? Unfortunately, going on a mission to remove all the potential danger from life is ridiculous and impossible. It can’t be done. Danger exists from useful tools in otherwise safe environments.
Being watchful is often the best option. Like realizing that being at a ballgame requires watching the ball and not sticking your face in a phone while objects fly in the air at 80 miles per hour toward you. Like driving with your hands on the wheel. Like bundling those precious little packages tightly and closely to our chests. Bad things can happen close to home and even at home. A careful dad is always watchful.
A thoughtful dad isn’t panicky or jittery around danger. There is absolutely no need to identify every danger to children and scare them to death with all the ways they could die on the way to school. Teaching children by example to manage risk effectively is better than walking around identifying all the ways life could go wrong.
Does all of this apply to moms? Of course. Parents are the best at watching out for their children. But moms and dads do it differently. That’s a topic for another day.