It has been over two weeks now since eight-year-old Victoria Stafford was taken from her school in the small town of Woodstock, Ontario. The story is slipping out of the news cycle and hopes are starting to wane.
These kinds of tragedies are heart-wrenching because what parent doesn’t know the feeling of looking up and finding your kid missing. Seeing him turn the bend and worrying that he’ll get lost or hurt or (please, no) abducted. Because we can imagine what that family is feeling. Because we know the agony — we’ve played it out in our heads a million times — that mother is feeling.
But also because we then hold our children ever closer. And we don’t let them walk to their friend’s house — not tonight. And we don’t want them going to the park by themselves. We want to be there, we want to protect them. But that isn’t good for them either. They need room to explore and space to discover their independence. How much space? And how soon? How do we find the right balance of protection and freedom, of guidance and experience? [Read more…]