copyright 2010 Betsy L. Angert BeThink.org
Do you know one?...nbsp; Perchance your mother, father, brother, or sister is a person you would characterize as lovingly protective. He or she maybe an individual who works to shield loved ones from harm. This fine fellow or femme plots and plans in an attempt to prevent any crisis. People come to depend on caring souls such as he or she. Indeed, you may be the cautious crier who actively expresses concern for the health and welfare of those you treasure. It is a tough task, but you, or someone in your life may have assumed responsibility for the well-being of another. Surely, someone must keep us safe and sane. One never knows who might lurk or linger in the halls, bathroom stalls, on a plane, boat or train. Credentials must be. checked.If family and friends cannot safeguard us from the crazies and fanatics certainly, our sweet Uncle Sam will.Article II of the Constitution and the American people provide the Commander-In-Chief the authority to protect and defend at all costs, or currently, it would seem so. Checks and balance be damned, when the consensus within the country is, "We are at war!"
In a time such as this, few reflect upon the parallels in their everyday lives. Quietly, each of us recalls when we, personally, were at war. The conflict was covert. Rarely were we even conscious of what occurred. Thus, just as we are as children, in adulthood, we oblige. When asked to remove our shoes in an airport, American citizens, and visitors to this country, do so. "Put your sweater in the tray." Happy, with the prospect that we might avoid a full body search, we smile, and act in accordance with the command.
This is after we handed the Transportation Security Administrators our boarding pass and photograph identification card. Indeed, as we shuffle off to Buffalo, New York, Billings, Montana, or Bakersfield, California, we succumb to the many demands put before us. The public is now, for the most part, willing to submit to a body scan. Seventy-eight percent of the Americans polled support the use of technology that in the past, would have been considered a physical invasion of privacy.
Although fifty-one percent of the American people who were
asked favor racial and ethnic profiling, this action, in truth, is
thought politically incorrect. Nonetheless, archetypal
classifications are "acceptable" to more than half the populace.
People prefer to feel protected. Most trust they will never be
subject to unwarranted seizure. Nor will the use of these X-rays
affect their health. Certainly, Uncle Sam is scrupulous and will not
use the images in an unethical manner. Others are the adversaries.
Authority figures are as Mom and Dad. They do as they do in our best
As humans, we long for love, and interpret protective practice as an expression of this caring, or do we? Might we muse Americans have become inured to the fragility factor. Constantly, especially in this decade, citizens have been told there is reason to fear. Hence, Americans have become extremely apprehensive. Paradoxically, the Office of Homeland Security concludes that much of our trepidation is of our own making.
It begins in childhood. In the last score or so, fearful parents proclaimed, "Do not talk to strangers.". The neighborhood is on watch. Playtime must be supervised. "The world," Moms and Dads declare, "is not a safe place." Indeed, it is impossible to escape the hazards. Scary people are everywhere. Nonetheless, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, aunts and of course Uncle Sam will help. Rest assured; "we are doing everything in our power to keep you and your family safe and secure.
Children were, perchance, comforted. Today, mothers and fathers ponder their growing pains. Many reason it is better to cloister a little one. Thus, parents plan every activity. From birth forward, it is more than 18 Years in the Making. Cash is stashed for college. Schools and careers are chosen and charted before a child takes his or her first steps. Tikes are trained and tested to ensure that they will achieve. Once the standards are set, early in life, our government takes over. Officials watch our every move and we are comfortable with this.
Americans, compassionately teach their children to be on guard However, as an adolescent medicine specialist at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, Doctor Elizabeth Alderman observes, overprotective parents have left their children with few real-world coping competencies. ''If you don't have these skills, then it's very normal to become anxious."
Diane knows this well. She learned her lessons long before the current trend in parenting. Darling Diane was but a lass when she discovered that she was not safe. Decades ago, years before people hid behind locked doors and windows, Diane realized that everywhere she went there was danger.
In the 1950s the little tike understood, when she walked to school, she did not travel alone. Her mother marched with her. Mrs McMahon did not stroll at the young girl's side. Nor did the elder woman sweetly saunter just out of sight. Madame McMahon hung over Diane's head. She haunted her darling daughter, and was always in the youngster's thoughts.
For Diane, it was as it is today for a young patient of Doctor David Anderegg, a Child Psychologist in Lenox, Massachusetts. As the adolescent spoke with the Professor of Psychology at Bennington College, she said "I wish my parents had some hobby other than me." Experts appear to agree; being the subject of intense scrutiny can cause a child, of any age, to be anxious.
Diane McMahon concurs. Whatever she did, Diane could not shake the angst. Her protective parent influenced her every action; however, not in ways that would benefit the girl or her relationship with her Mom.
If Diane thought to be with peers, Mom was always in the background of her mind. When her friends stole makeup from Walgreen's Pharmacy, Diane did too. The "culprit" knew she could not keep the cosmetics, at least not at home. She arranged for a friend of hers, whose Mom and Dad did not go through her drawers, to take the foundation, powder, eye shadow, and mascara. Each evening these, along with the lipstick and perfume would go home with an acquaintance. In the morning, on the way to school, all would be returned to Diane.
When classmates said smoking is cool, Diane tried it. Warnings from her mother, while heard, and alive, loudly in Diane's head, did not persuade the teen to do what Mom wanted her to do.