Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chicken Little needs a Reality Check

We're in Panama City and we survived Hurricane Ida. No - Tropical Storm Ida. Honestly? – Rainstorm Ida. We lived in Florida for five years back in the 80's and the worse thing was the hurricanes. Not the actual hurricanes – but the over-the-top, panic reporting about hurricanes. Since Katrina and 24-hour news and weather, the rest of the nation has joined the panic.
Should hurricanes be taken seriously? Yes. Should we count on someone, anyone, having common sense? Apparently not.
We just passed Halloween on our calendars and I love the idea of being scared, jumping at shadows and spooky movies – but this panic mode we now live in is ridiculous. Common sense seems to have taken a vacation so we either ignore all risks, which is stupid. Or turn every risk into a certainty, which is stupid.
One parenting tip I practiced was this: Say "no" only when you need to. Don't water it down with constant use. Make your "no" stand out. I even started answering my kids with, "Yes?" when they called out to me. If they swim in a sea of "yes" then a "no" will stand out. In youth ministry I saw this often. Think about it – Parents make the length of their son's hair or the color of their daughter's fingernails a huge battle. Their kid, not being stupid, sees that these things really don't matter. So, the parent's position is weakened. And the next battle may be one on which the parent needs to be heard – like drinking and driving.
Folks have jobs to do – and sometimes those jobs give them narrow views, which is good. I want the Center of Disease Control to be focused like a laser beam on disease. I want the military to stand guard with a passion. I want news folks to give me every bit of news they have. I want government officials and opinion talkers to push their agenda, after all, their agenda IS what gets them votes and ratings. However, if I try to take on all their views??? Just call me "Chicken Little" because I'll be in a constant state of running around screaming about the sky falling.
We've got to take our common sense out of the hole we've buried it in. This either/or choice of living in fear or living with our heads in the sand isn't funny.

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