Parents Asked to Write Wrenching Notes to Their Kids

Hi Readers! Once again, one of you alerted me to a phenom I was completely unaware of: Schools are asking parents to write letters for their kids’ emergency packs, in case they are separated…perhaps forever.
 
It certainly sounds like a wrenching exercise for the parents, one that — per usual these days  — forces us to imagine the very worst, saddest case scenario and proceed as if it’s likely enough to happen. It’s what I call “worst-first thinking,” and it’s the way we are being TRAINED to think about our kids. Think of the advice columnist who suggested we always take a photo of our kids before we go anywhere with them. It could be OUR LAST PHOTO! The one we give to the cops! And now there’s a product on the market to take an impression of our kids’ teeth. Guess why!
 
It’s exactly this “I may never see them again!” mentality that is making parents so terrified to let their kids go anywhere, even around the corner. So when I got this mom’s letter, below, I felt the phenom she’s describing is worth probing: Why are schools suddenly requiring this kind of parental note? And what is it doing to us all? – L.
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Dear Free-Range Kids: The whole worst-first-helicopter-parenting movement has taken a new turn for the morbid.  I just read a blog post at Swistle describing a request from her school for a “reassuring note” to pack in the child’s emergency preparedness kit.  The blogger says:

One particularly wrenching thought was that if it’s a big emergency, this could be THE LAST COMMUNICATION YOUR CHILD EVER GETS FROM YOU. This is too much pressure for a note, I think we can agree on that. This just BEGS parents to start making lengthy, sobbing lists of everything they would want to tell their child if this was their last chance, and I think we can further agree that the resulting note is not going to be reassuring to a child.

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I have a lot of thoughts about this…  First of all, that if there is time for the reading of lengthy tear-stained notes from parents, it’s probably NOT an emergency.  Secondly, I have actually written this kind of letter.
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When I was pregnant with my first child I suffered from a rip-roaring case of perinatal anxiety and mood disorder.  I was absolutely certain that I was going to die in childbirth.  My anxiety got worse and worse as I got closer to my due date.  Finally, in the last week of my pregnancy when I was on bed rest (a sure sign that I was going to die, right?), I wrote my husband a letter with my final wishes (“Don’t tell the baby I died in childbirth, I don’t want her to bear that burden”), and thoughts, (“Thanks for a wonderful, if tragically short, life”), and sent it to his best friend to give to him when (not if, when) I died.
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That baby is a seven year old first grader now, and I have learned to manage my anxiety in a much healthier manner.  Yay Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and yay Zoloft!
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Anyway, what struck me is that the schools asking for these letters want the parents of their students to behave like mentally ill people.
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Mentally ill people, people who can’t control their crippling anxiety, people who need psychoactive medication to function, write these letters.  Not sane, rational, thinking parents.  Certainly not sane, rational, thinking school administrators!
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Now that I am better, and my anxiety is being controlled rather than controlling me, I refuse to parent as though I am still crippled by anxiety. —  Amy Austin, blogger at Pretty Babies.
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Lenore here: I wrote Amy back, thanking her for this great note and she wrote back something so cheering, I have to share it, too: 
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In brighter news (wrote Amy), I am planning a summer day camp for the kids in my neighborhood because I read about the idea here. Meantime,  I’m president of a fledgling neighborhood association, and I’ve offered my home as a safe place for all the kids in our ‘hood (of 100 households) to come if they get home from school and no one is home (for the little ones), or if they get home and they’re scared of severe weather, or if they need help with homework…  I was a teacher and my husband is a rocket scientist, so it’s not just help – it’s GOOD help.  :)  At any given time I usually have between 6 and a dozen kids in my yard who don’t belong to me.  I call myself the neighborhood KoolAid mom.  (Not organic, sugar free, free range juice mom, just good old KoolAid.  :-) )
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I’ve come a LONG way from that terrified pregnant woman, and a great deal of it is because of Free-Range Kids, so thanks. – Amy

Why are we being encouraged to think the saddest thoughts of all?

72 Responses to Parents Asked to Write Wrenching Notes to Their Kids

  1. backroadsem October 18, 2012 at 8:27 pm #

    I can’t even fathom the idea of an emergency preparedness kit letter! (I think emergency prep kits, sans silly notes, are wonderful ideas that everyone should have). How sickening, how frightening! Where did this idea come from?!

    As for Amy’s other note, loved it. Just yesterday a co-worker was reminiscing about when her kids were younger during the summers. She was so sick of having to approve five kids’ activities (a constant “can I go to so-n-sos?) she came up with a no-asking-permission-necessary list of places, ranges to roam, activities, etc. they could just go to without bothering her, leaving the “can Is” to more significant places and activities. Apparently it caught on with the neighbors.

  2. Donald October 18, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

    In a very early episode of “The Simpsons”, back when it was funny and relevant, Dustin Hoffman played a substitute teacher. Lisa became infatuated with him in a non-creepy, seeking a father figure kind of way. When he was called to a different school, and out of her life forever, she was crushed. He handed her a note, claiming that it told her everything she needed to know.

    The note read “You are Lisa Simpson”.

    If I am doing my job right as a parent, that should be enough for my kids too.

  3. Jarndyce October 18, 2012 at 8:43 pm #

    I’ve two teens, and I did a google search of when this mess started, and it was the ’80s–fear Halloween, fear people, just worship god, fear sex, fear everything. This is not healthy. I let my kids play and romp outside, and I deliberately have not taught them to fear other human beings. They’re alive and well. This kind of crap is horrendous. An emergency preparedness for most kids is utterly unnecessary.

    Most other human beings are, gasp and shock, GOOD PEOPLE. Yes, there are serial killers and child abusers, but these make up a tiny percentage of the population. Teaching your children to always be wary, to always fear, to be ultimately radically cynical about other humans and society in general is a damaging thing. Teaching them that they are ever in danger of terrorism, tornadoes, fires, WHATEVER, through their happy emergency kit is a damaging thing.

    Planes rarely crash. Most people are not murdered. This whole “beware beware beware” thing that we as parents are supposed to instill in out kids, is not healthy.

    Rant over.

  4. Crystal October 18, 2012 at 8:48 pm #

    My 5-year-old son goes to a private academy, and this was a REQUIREMENT for him to enroll. Want to know the entirety of my letter?

    “If you get scared, just remember to pray to God, and everything will be okay. We love you and will see you soon! :-)” (And yes, I put in a smiley face).

    Of course, I highly doubt he’ll ever read/need it.

  5. Kelly October 18, 2012 at 8:48 pm #

    I did have my husband do a movie type thing at one point but that was because he was going into brain surgery (relatively simple one but still) and my son was only 6 weeks old. I can’t imagine doing it for a generic “If I happen to die” type scenario. I’d hope that my kids know that I love them enough and have enough happy memories that a sad note wouldn’t be what they cherish the most.

    It seems better to live each day to it’s fullest rather than assuming each day could be your last.

  6. JeninCanada October 18, 2012 at 8:50 pm #

    That’s really wonderful, Amy! Way to go on offering up your home, and thank you so much for writing frankly about your anxiety during pregnancy, and how you handled it. I hope you wrote back to the school or called them and let them know how awful their idea was, and that you wouldn’t be doing it.

  7. Paul R. Welke October 18, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

    This is absolutely irresponsible of the schools to ask. Besides, any good parent doesn’t NEED to write a note like this. Their kids already know how they feel.

    Now, with regards to taking a pic of your kid when you go out, it’s not a terrible idea. When I take my four year old somewhere that’s going to be insanely crowded (carnival, mall in December, &c.) I often snap a pic with my phone before we leave the house. It’s not for sentimental reasons, but so that if we get separated, I can show it/email it to security/police if necessary.

    In addition, being a male out with a child leads a whole bunch of these “worst first” thinkers to assume that I’m not the kid’s dad, but his abductor. If he starts throwing a fit in the mall and I have to pick him up and take him somewhere to cool off, and someone gets in my face about it (it happens!), I’d much rather be able to show some stranger a photo of my son dressed the same way in his room earlier that day than have to deal with insane accusations from insane people.

  8. Warren October 18, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

    Okay, I must be the worst Dad out there. What are these emergency packs, that the letters are for?

  9. Becky October 18, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

    Okay, I can understand a family having an emergency preparedness kit, especially if you live in a place that’s prone to natural disasters (California or tornado alley, for instance), but what would a kid do with his or her own emergency preparedness kit? Is this really something that people are buying for their kids? Do they make special kits aimed at young children? No don’t bother, Google just answered that question for me in the affirmative. Complete with activity coloring book, that I assume tells kids exactly what to do when God has deicded to rain his wrath down upon their happy little community.

    I’m sorry, but ths sounds like the most horrible idea ever. “Here little Johnny, this is a kit you’re supposed to carry around with you in case disaster strikes and you can’t find mommy and daddy. It’s got water purification tablets so that the water you drink won’t kill you and cute little gloves to keep your fingers from falling off with frostbite when you can’t find a home to squat in. Take a look at the “surviving disaster funbook” and all the stuff in here to familiarize yourself, just don’t open that letter. That’s for you to read if mommy and daddy die and you’ll never get to see them again.”

    I’m traumatized and I’m not even a kid.

  10. Jessica October 18, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

    I have had to make an emergency kit in a ziplock bag for the last four years. It contains non perishable food items and yes, a note is a suggested item. We live in the Pacific Northwest- where a major earthquake is a possible event. I think it’s a great idea. Our local elementary school has an emergency prep building with supplies, but the private preschool? They ask for a ziplock of supplies that is returned at the end of the school year. Why, exactly, is this a bad idea? As homeowners, we have bottled water and flashlights ready. It’s not a stretch to provide a simple kit for a school that may be stranded with kids for several hours. Then again, I was in 4th grade when the Loma Prieta quake separated my family for a few hours and while everyone was fine, it was good to have a plan. My preparing a ziplock bag doesn’t make many a parent who plans for the worst or lives in constant fear. My kid doesn’t even know its there. I did write a note. It says “We love you!” and I think I used scratch paper and a handy crayon. The note- didn’t take it seriously. Emergency prep that makes sense? That I absolutely find reasonable.

  11. KLY October 18, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

    Our note would probably say “Kiddo, just remember: always aim for the head.”

    Then it would probably get me in trouble, and I would have to try to explain that every time we get one of those “things you should think (worry) and talk to your child about” lists, we always say, “But… it doesn’t even *mention* ZOMBIES!” Then they’d probably “strongly recommend” that my child receive counselling, and it would be a huge Thing.
    (The kiddo in question, being a rather warped 13 year old, would be cracking up the whole time.)

    Before she was quite old enough for zombie jokes, it was pirates. (She started that one, though. After one of the lock-down drills at her elementary school, someone asked her if she knew why they did them… and she told them “Yeah, but I mostly figure it will be really handy if pirates attack.”)

    So… yeah. There is pretty much no way anyone in this family would be able to take this seriously.

    I love that last bit, about opening up her home to the neighborhood kids. I’ve been wishing we lived somewhere that I could have a little more of that going on again. Half my daughter’s friends are simply threatening to try to move in with me, while in truth some of their parents are now MORE reluctant to let them come over, because I am apparently dangerous or crazy for thinking that 13 year old girls, especially in a group, don’t actually need a security detail to do things like run next door to the store or the froyo place. I also exhibit the risky Mall behavior of setting them loose on their own with a time to meet up with me and then hiding somewhere (relatively) quiet.

  12. Leah Backus October 18, 2012 at 9:45 pm #

    As the mom of a very sensitive, fearful child whom I always have to encourage to push her boundaries, I don’t think a reassuring letter would be a bad thing at all. The key word being reassuring. It’s not my job as her parent to foist my anxieties onto her with an emotional goodbye letter. It’s my job to tell her to be calm, to listen to the adults who will take good care of her, and that I love her and will see her soon. Then again, I spend my life reassuring my girl. Hoping this phase will end soon!

  13. Michelle October 18, 2012 at 9:49 pm #

    I completely disagree that this is something that should be mandated by a school. I completely agree that it’s something that should be left up to each parent to do if they should choose. I don’t necessarily see it as worst-first thinking though. I mean, we all have insurance, right? Isn’t that worst-first thinking? Sometime after our son was born, we wrote wills. Is that worst first thinking?

  14. Jarndyce October 18, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

    @jessica The US has been lucky with its quakes, so you might not have a sense of what a real earthquake does. A kit is a useful idea in an earthquake zone only if the kit is permanently kept on the child. In a truly damaging earthquake, the school will have been leveled, and the kids will be cowering under their desks with the ceiling and the roof and the concrete over them. I know what I’m talking about; I have relatives in Turkey, and they experienced the Izmit quake a decade ago. 30,000 people died in that quake. In an earthquake where the children will have to spend some hours in school, they will still need to get to their emergency kit, and that kit could be hallways away. In such a situation, getting to the kit could be far more dangerous than staying where they are, and waiting for help.

    Not all children live in an earthquake zone. In our school system (Wisconsin) in the event of a tornado, children are asked to go to various shelter areas. If this is where the emergency preparedness kits are kept, fine. However, we have NEVER had a single tornado incident where children needed to resort to something like an emergency kit…ever. In the event of a fire? Best to get out. FORGET the kit. In the event of a terrorist attack? How many terrorist attacks have targeted schools? In the event of a kid going crazy and starting to shoot classmates? How, exactly, will an emergency kit help?

  15. Donna October 18, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    What the heck is an emergency preparedness kit and why would a child need one at school? I live on a remote island in an area prone to hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis. A major natural disaster is not unfathomable. Still I fully expect that my kid’s school can manage to keep her alive, calm as possible and entertained until someone can get her without me needing to provide them a baggie of non-perishable food items.

  16. John C October 18, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

    Emergency kit ? You must be kidding! This is one of the lamest ideas I’ve ever heard of. This is the epitomy of worst-first thinking. What does its existence tell us, and more importantly, what does it tell our children ? It says that we’re expecting that some horrible disaster is not just *likely* to happen, but that it’s *going* to happen. The whole concept of it is sickening. Ironically, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. If our society continues deeming things like an ’emergency kit’ necessary, we are surely doomed.

  17. sabmad October 18, 2012 at 10:20 pm #

    We leave in Earthquake Country (California), so my daughter’s preschool has us make up an emergency kit in the event of well…an emergency. Juice box, crackers, stuffed animal, plus I added a little note that says “I love you and will see you soon” (she since can’t read yet, I’m guessing that will be read to her). But NEVER in a million years did I ever give it more thought that that! Good lord, to put that much pressure into a note. I wonder if anyone wrote more than what I did.

  18. Lollipoplover October 18, 2012 at 10:36 pm #

    In lieu of a letter, I would send in the latest copy of MAD magazine. Schools are going insane with worst-first.

  19. Donna October 18, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

    I think this whole concept goes back to the modern notion that children cannot be uncomfortable for even a second, even in a dire emergency apparently. It is based on the same belief that has parents schlepping copious drinks and snacks on every hour-long trip to the playground.

    Schools have been in existence for centuries and natural disasters have been occurring for as long as there has been nature. Today is the first time in my 42 years that I have heard of schools requiring parents to bring in an emergency kit of juice and non-perishable food items. And, yet, I can’t remember a single time in US history where kids died of starvation or thirst while being trapped in their school after some emergency.

  20. Denny October 18, 2012 at 11:11 pm #

    I want to meet this lady… Amy, we need more moms like you in neighborhoods around the country (and the world) who offer up their homes to lots of kids around. How many kids of your own do you have?

  21. Leah Backus October 18, 2012 at 11:12 pm #

    Come on, guys. There’s a huge difference between emergency preparedness and worst-first thinking. Being sensibly prepared for an emergency can save your life, or at the very least make a bad situation a lot easier. Have you ever stood in a FEMA line for hours in the sun waiting for clean water? I have seen people go through it when I lived in Florida. It sucks. Having emergency supplies at home, school, and work and being aware of what to do in an emergency can really make everyone’s lives a lot easier from disaster victims to first responders. In fact, refusing to prepare for an emergency is a form of worst-first thinking. Most people have the idea that if a disaster happens, they’ll die. Most disasters are completely survivable with just a little preparation and common sense. And I’m not talking about moving to Montana and becoming a survivalist.

  22. Susan H October 18, 2012 at 11:26 pm #

    I’m with Sabmad. I don’t think this is that big of a deal. Our preschool had us do one too, in case of an earthquake. It’s not an “emergency kit” really, just a “comfort kit” in case we are late picking the child up. Granola bar, small stuffed animal, note from parents, saying “Love you, see you soon!”. I never stressed about it, and never once thought of it as my last communication with my child.

  23. Donald October 18, 2012 at 11:27 pm #

    Ongoing morbid thoughts are toxic. They can be so toxic that when these people have children, they don’t even comprehend that they are handing down their toxic beliefs to their children!

  24. Kimberly Gische October 18, 2012 at 11:30 pm #

    I agree with Leah Backus completely. Being prepared for events that do happen is not worst-first thinking. However, treating the preparation as though you are sure to die during the event is.

    Our school school in the San Francisco Bay Area requests letters and a family picture in the kids’ earthquake kits along with some basic supplies and foods the kids would eat. But the school does not panic parents with “this could be THE LAST COMMUNICATION YOUR CHILD EVER GETS FROM YOU” language. They tell us to write a calming letter and include a picture of the family to soothe the child in case of an emergency. It is simply another tool to help the teachers and staff of the school keep the kids calm in what could be a very frightening and chaotic time. We reuse the same short and sweet letter from year to year and our daughter (who reads it at the end of each years) knows what it says: Listen to your teachers. Stay calm. Eat your pudding. We’ll come get you as soon as we can. We love you.

  25. Donald October 18, 2012 at 11:31 pm #

    Insane people don’t know they’re insane

  26. baby-paramedic October 18, 2012 at 11:57 pm #

    We keep emergency kits about the place, and I sent one to school with little brother. Making it as part of an imagination game (he is a very imaginative kid), in which I DID teach him about what to do in xyz. In a game, not a terrifying way. He found it fun.
    To be fair, we live in Australia, where fire and flood are NORMAL EVENTS. So normal I have lost track of how many times we have evacuated. Where I can recall being evacuated from school to a safe place. And on the way home from school/work I have ended up being trapped in the car due to rising flood waters for a few hours/days.
    As we head into the most dangerous bushfire season in years – yes, we have plans.
    Having said all that, we havent covered unlikely things for this area, like cyclones (it is possible, but very unlikely), or volcanoes. We have only touched on the likely.

  27. Donna October 19, 2012 at 12:00 am #

    I don’t think there is a problem with houses, schools and work places having emergency supplies. They should all have plans, and even drills, in case of common emergencies as well. One of the first things my boss tells everyone arriving on the island is exactly where to go in case of an earthquake, tsunami or hurricane.

    Requiring each individual child to have his own emergency kit seems a bit extreme and/or completely useless. If the emergency kit is not within reach of the child, it will be worthless most of the time. Emergencies generally do not strike with sufficient notice for emergency kits to be handed out. Depending on the emergency, you are either quickly moving to another location or hunkering down under your desk. Neither provides for getting emergency kits stored someplace else. If, after you get past the immediate emergency, you can move freely about the school to get the emergency kits, you can probably get to other food and beverage sources as well. It is not like schools are completely devoid of survival supplies without the emergency kits. Most have entire cafeterias.

    Requiring kids to carry emergency kits at all times would be (a) annoying, (b) morbid and (c) completely unreasonable. I don’t know any adults who carry emergency kits on them at all times and I can’t imagine what it would do to a kid’s psyche to do so. They would also need to be replaced regularly since kids are not known for their ability to keep track of things not important to them. Heck, mine isn’t known for keeping track of things very important to her. And there is a high likelihood of them regularly being consumed outside of an emergency situation.

    I don’t think my child will die in a disaster. I realize that a ziplock bag’s worth of juice and non-perishable food kept in some storage closet is not going to increase the likelihood of her survival.

  28. andi October 19, 2012 at 1:05 am #

    I was required to write one for my childs pack – it didn’t cause me any anxiety. I wrote “Hello Darling, I’m on my way and will see you soon. Don’t worry! I love you! xxx”

  29. Kimberly October 19, 2012 at 1:10 am #

    Blows my mind that they have parents making emergency kits – we can’t get them to fill out the who to call if your kid is sick form (there is a release for us to send a kid to the ER on the form).

    I have a small emergency kit in my room
    Basic first aid stuff (In case a tornado hits the school)

    Cards we hold up during fire drills Red means you are missing a student/have an extra student. Green means all kids accounted for.

    List of kids with their contact information. – In the event of a fire the plans is that we walk less than 1/2 mile down the road to the 6th grade campus and shelter there.

    I’ve been at my school since 2001 we have had
    1 – flood had to divert the busses to the front of the school to load, and hold 1 walkers that go west of our school. The water was knee high on adults, and the side walk crosses a deep ditch. If someone had stepped off the sidewalk, the kids would have been over their heads.

    2. One near fire. A piece of equipment malfuctioned and heated up to a dangerous level setting off the fire alarm. The kids knew it was the real thing because – it was raining, and the middle of the state mandated tests.

    3. We have had 3 lockdowns.
    1 caused by a student reporting a man with a gun. Turned out to be a man with huge cell phone, but he was beating a woman with it just off campus. He was arrested.

    2nd one caused by a rampaging parent who put a teacher in the ER. They thought their child had been HORRORS put on the bus by mistake. Actually there were two girls in Kinder and with almost identical names. Think Kristian Caldwell and Christiana Shawell. Momentary confusion (1st day of school) about which child they were looking for, put a teacher in ER. Thankfully she pressed charges. They left for a while, got kicked out of private school. Because they were charged and convicted of simple assault on a teacher – they get to be escorted anytime they are on campus.

    3rd lockdown a man robbed a store next door to our school. He ran into the middle of our 3rd graders’ recess waving a gun around. The cops lost him when he went around a corner, and were afraid he might have gotten into the building. (The kids knew this was real because it was the day before TAKS, and they knew there was NO way Mr. Principal would pull a drill then.) Once we were put on modified lockdown and allowed to go get lunch, the cops were comforting to the kids, giving out stickers and hugs. They stayed to talk to the kids after they had arrested the thief, hiding just off campus.

  30. Amy Austin October 19, 2012 at 1:17 am #

    Thanks for posting this, Lenore, and thanks for the interesting discussion everyone! I especially appreciate the compliments about the neighborhood organizing I’ve been doing. My philosophy is that I should help create the kind of neighborhood that I want my kids to grow up in.

    Anyway, someone asked, I have three kids – aged 7, 5, and nearly-2.

    Lenore and I had this conversation many days ago, and it’s funny that she published it today… On the day when my 5 year old had a field trip to a local high school that just happened to be across the street from a bank that was robbed minutes before the kids arrived. We all got a text saying that the high school was on lockdown, but the kids are safe, and don’t panic.

    Well, I still struggle with anxiety (I didn’t know I was crazy at the time that I was crazy, Donald, but in hind sight it’s clear that I was off my rocker during all three of my pregnancies and postpartum unless I was on Zoloft. I’m just going to stay on it until my youngest graduates college). When I got the text I spazzed. But instead of rushing to the school to save my baby (and scaring the hell out of her in the process!) I wrote out my feelings on my blog, got my head together, called the school to find out if the kids were informed of what was happening – they weren’t – and then I continued with my work. I asked my daughter about the events when she got home, and she told me all about the show, and didn’t even mention the word “lockdown.”

    Anyway, I just thought it was funny that this was published on a day when the emergency kits, if my school had them, might have been used! Happily, my school system is sane and wonderful – our high school is among the top 175 in the country – and this was just a phenomenon I read about on someone else’s blog.

  31. Julie October 19, 2012 at 1:25 am #

    I’m with Sabmad and Kimberly G. I’m also in the Bay Area, and earthquakes do happen here in varying degrees of severity–usually a little bit of shaking where a picture frame might fall off the wall. But in the event of a power outage or something along those lines that will potentially delay traffic and the parent getting to the young child, I see NOTHING wrong with having an emergency kit that includes a few of the kid’s favorite snacks, a juice box, and note from mom saying “I’ll be there as soon as I can.” In fact, I’m pretty sure I wrote that exact phrase for my daughter’s preschool kit. (Older kid in elementary doesn’t do the kit.)

    However, nowhere in the instructions did it ever say anything about the note giving encouraging words since you may never see the kid again. Good lord! I think I might pull my kid from the preschool if it had said that!

    Kimberly, are you, by chance, in San Jose? If so and you want to meet up sometime, feel free to email me at lefty at sonic dot net.

  32. JJ October 19, 2012 at 1:34 am #

    In fiairness I don’t think the school in this situation said anything about this being “the last communication you’ll have with your child”. I think they just said a “reassuring note” (which could be “hey Bud see you tonight!”) it was the blogger that turned it into something macabre, by her own admission.

    I never heard of an emergency kit. If my kids had to make them up and carry them around Ii guarantee the food would last about one week.

  33. Andy Harris October 19, 2012 at 2:23 am #

    This is sick. There’s no other word for it.

  34. Carol October 19, 2012 at 2:28 am #

    And school personnel used to caution me that my no-censorship reading policy would leave my kids traumatized by exposure to inappropriate reading material?

    The sort of note being suggested is a bizarrely sado-masochistic exercise. My son, at 23, has been a US Marine for four years, with two deployments to Afghanistan behind him; the notion that I would ever write such a missive to him as he prepared to depart overseas seems unthinkable, and he’s no doubt a bit more of a rational skeptic than most grade-schoolers.

    I would be particularly worried about the effect such notes would have on kids from the sort of background my own children had as witnesses to domestic violence; they were young when I bundled the three of them up and left without looking back, but not so young as to retain no frightening memories. Such children often have a strong, internalized fear of losing mom to a sudden, violent death, and such uncalled-for good-bye letters play right into that fear. I made a conscious effort to see that my kids would not grow up believing the world is a scary place with danger around every corner; to have had the schools undermine that effort even more intrusively than was already the case, and do so by taunting them with their worst fear, would have made me livid. As it is, it’s no thanks to the public schools that I managed to raise two daughters and a son to reject “safety first” as words to live by.

    Of course I never promised my kids that we’d all live forever. I simply tried to instill the idea that risk isn’t something to avoid at all costs, it’s a part of life without which nothing can be accomplished, and the acceptable risk to reward ratio is an individual choice. From their toddlerhood on, we never left each others’ presence without saying “I love you.” That is enough of a nod to mortality for me, and it persists to this day. Even at times when we live close enough to see each other daily, no two of us say good-bye, in person or on the phone, without saying– and meaning– it; seeing and hearing my fiercely independent and individual twenty-somethings hugging and declaring their love for each other no matter what friends might be present is possibly my proudest accomplishment as a parent; if the worst really were to happen tomorrow, what else is it really necessary to say or know?

  35. Jessica October 19, 2012 at 2:35 am #

    Thank you sabmad. To the person who didn’t actually read my comment: I grew up in the bay area. The Loma Prieta quake in 89 was merely a 7.2, but I guess because our house only suffered some structural damage and my dad made it off the bay bridge somehow I don’t get to have an opinion on my kid’s preschool having plastic zip locks with non perishable food? Guess what? Chances of the bags being found and used in such a circumstance are enough that I throw caution to the wind and spend a few bucks on granola bars and fruit packs and write an (OPTIONAL) note that I don’t take seriously. The school throws it all in an earthquake box, and I go on living my life as a free ranger without flipping out about a ziplock bag. Don’t write the note if it bugs you. A ziplock bag? Wow. Talk about things I don’t think affect my kid’s ability to grow up, be independent, and hopefully not freakishly critical of an itty bitty bit of common sense.

  36. AW13 October 19, 2012 at 2:52 am #

    When I was teaching in public school, we had a classroom emergency kit. It contained one 8 oz. packet of fresh water, which was a rich source of amusement to teachers and students alike. If we ever were in a situation where there was no water, were we supposed to split that one package between all the students in the class? What good was 8 oz going to do us?

    Luckily, I taught in the middle of Iowa. We occasionally let out early because of blizzards (that we know are coming days in advance). There are frequently tornados in the outlying areas, but not in the city. And usually not during the school year – they mostly seem to happen in June, after school is out. I taught high school, so less need for a reassuring note. The trick was reminding students not to use their cell phones to text their parents – or each other – during lockdowns.

  37. Susan H October 19, 2012 at 3:41 am #

    Jessica: totally. Read my earlier comment too. This is not something to freak out about, and so many people commenting are becoming very incensed without really understanding what this minor ziplock “comfort bag” is all about. Settle down, everyone. As JJ pointed out, the school never said that this could be the last communication you have with your child, the author admitted that was her own anxiety speaking.

  38. hineata October 19, 2012 at 4:00 am #

    Personally, as a good Girl Guide, I do get my kids to carry their own mini emergency kit, which basically means a small lot of first aid stuff and a few muesli bars etc, as well as the standard issue bottle of water which they have to take to school with them anyway, as they don’t have drinking fountains around (well, working ones anyway). Frankly I don’t think of this as worst-first thinking – a small kit is useful for little things like bike accidents, as the two girls found out the other day.

    A few muesli bars will enable the kids to keep themselves and probably their friends going for a few hours in the event of an earthquake. The geography of our particular area makes it very likely that in the event of a major disaster most families would be apart for some hours at the least. My kids have the sense to listen to their teachers/other adults around them, but what’s wrong with enabling them to look after themselves/ others if necessary? They all know basic first aid etc. And if lost in the bush a few muesli bars and a survival blanket (tiny when folded) can mean the difference between life and death. Nothing wrong with a little preparedness, IMHO. Not sure what its like where everyone else is, but my kids have to carry their bags between classes, so that little bag is with them most of the time.

    A note, however, I agree would be a waste of time – except as fuel to start a fire.

  39. Casey October 19, 2012 at 4:07 am #

    I’m with all the folks who aren’t freaked out here. Usually I’m right there with Free Range Kids, but on this one I’m not. I was actually really glad to receive the paper outlining the kit I was to have ready for my child because it made showed me that the school my daughter attends daycare at has a plan in the event of an emergency. I am very happy to write her a note as well. “I’m sorry Mommy can’t be there with you right now, but I will try to be there soon. Mommy and Daddy love you very much!”…Oh my, the emotional strain that took!

    Talk about worst-first thinking…why jump to the worst conclusion about a little pack of food? Also, it makes a lot of sense to me that I pay for the small amount of food my daughter needs instead of having tax dollars cover food for all the kids (and them picking out food that my daughter may hate — picky eater…working on it — and not eat). I am very happy to provide a comfort bag for her, because the idea of my thoughtfulness making a difference to her in any kind of situation seems like a good thing.

  40. Emily October 19, 2012 at 4:19 am #

    This must be an “earthquake country” thing, because we never had “emergency preparedness” kits when I was in school. If we had a fire drill/real (small) fire/gas leak/whatever, we’d evacuate, stand outside for a while (or have an extended recess if it happened during recess), and then either go back inside, or be sent home. I’m from Canada, so a lot of the time, it’d be cold, but none of us were emotionally traumatized.

  41. SKL October 19, 2012 at 4:24 am #

    Yikes! But oddly enough, just last night I was going through school papers and came across the school photo package. I had not ordered the photos, but nevertheless they sent me some photo ID cards just in case! Free of charge! I now have photos to give to the police (along with detailed instructions on how to do so) should my kids ever disappear.

    Not sure whether they want me to carry these cards in my wallet at all times, or just keep them with my kids’ passports. “Hey mommy, why are you carrying cards with our photos in your wallet?” “Because honey, you just never know when a bad guy is going to jump out from behind a tree and grab you.” Very timely, since their after-school “late room” monitor has been letting them watch news that inspires questions about the latest child abduction/murder/body found, moms drowning children in bathtubs, etc. Oh well, at least this will make them focus better in karate class.

  42. mighthavejoy October 19, 2012 at 6:37 am #

    Interesting that this letter showed up on the anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake. In the U.S., and especially on the West Coast, people are not likely to die as a direct result of an earthquake. The building codes and engineering standards are very strict, preventing loss of life even in relatively strong earthquakes. But earthquakes do mess with everything else: gas leaks, water quality, power outages, and traffic.

    It made sense when my family lived in the Bay Area for students to have a Ziploc bag of snacks stored at school. No one was going to die, but parents in long commutes tied up in traffic (and crossing bridges) with everyone else trying to get home (or to their kid’s school) could potentially be delayed for several hours. Even though I was a SAHM and lived within walking distance of the school, I thought it was nice to include an actually-reassuring, positive note with the snacks, and my son enjoyed getting his snacks back on the last day of school. (As another poster pointed out, it was nice to personalize the kit to things my child actually liked. Besides, with the deep budget cuts the schools were constantly facing, I doubt they could have provided for any but the most needy students.)

  43. Christy October 19, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    However well meaning the emergency/ comfort kits, it perpetuates the idea that kids can not handle any discomfort, stress or out of the ordinary event without their parents and/or a snack. Children are actually pretty resilient and there are few emergencies that a granola bar and capri sun are actually going to solve.

    In the event of a “real” emergency, I hope that the adults are far more concerned with ensuring the physical safety of the students than grabbing a bunch of baggies full of parental love notes. And if the kids need to stay at school for a few hours or even over night, no one is going to starve or die of thirst!

    If the kit is more for comfort, schools are the last place you would need it. The kids are already in a place they are familiar with, with adults that they know and surrounded by their friends who are most likely in the same situation as they are. You need a comfort kit when you are outside this environment.

    Sadly, a quick internet search yielded super scary sites such as this one: http://www.americanfamilysafety.com/kits/school-kits/
    which just feeds on the culture of fear that is everywhere today.

    If you want to prepare children for an emergency, update the emergency contact list at school, make sure your child knows their last name and address, and get them a med-alert bracelet if they have allergies.

    You want to make sure they are comforted in case you die suddenly? Hug them, kiss them, and tell them they are loved every day.

  44. Beth October 19, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

    Wow, Christy! Right on!!

  45. Brian October 19, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

    1) Right, what good is a granola bar and note going to do? It would make much more sense for the school to collect $2 from all the parents and buy some bottled water and boxes of snacks in case kids get stuck there. Instead they make it an emotional drama.

    2) People used to do videos of themselves for their toddlers if they were going on vacation or something and worried the plane would go down. We used to joke, imagine if that video was all your kid knew you by. “Wow, my parents were really cheesy jerks who couldnt sing.” Personally, I would much rather have my kid learn about me from what my friends and family could say about me than from a video made for a 2 year old.

  46. Becky October 19, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

    Okay, so we’re not, in general, talking about major preparedness kits like those you’d find for purchase online, just a ziploc bags full of granola bars and the like? I’m sorry, that still seems just a little silly to me. I’ve never lived in an earthquake or hurricane prone area, but I do live in tornado country. It would never have occured to my parents to give me a kit to have on hand in case there was a tornado while I was at school. If there was one, they trusted that the teachers would take care of us. That’s what the teacheres are there for. Nor did they ever think that I would need something for comfort if, for any reason, they were late. Heck, the most my school did with regard to protecting kids because parents might be delayed (or if the kids were sent home early for some reason) was to encourage the parents to make connections with stay-at-home moms in the neighborhood so that the kids would have someone else’s house to go to while waiting for mom and dad to get home. After age 11 or so, these types of precautions weren’t thought to be necessary. Kids were expected to have their own keys and look after themselves.

    If it makes you or your kid happier to have a juice-box and encouraging note on hand at school, so be it. However, if I were a teacher hunkering down in a hallway with my 30+ charges as a tornado rips by outside, the last thing I’d be thinking of was, “Did I remember to pass out the emergency ziplocs?”

  47. Captain America October 19, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

    Wow! Never heard of this practice.

    This is really bizarre.

  48. AlanaM October 19, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    I’ve always written a semi sarcastic note to my kids each along the lines of: You are probably sitting in the ruins of your class right now, drinking the juice box I was forced to put in your emergency pack. Don’t worry, soon you will come home again and play Legos. Most years, if I can find it, I put in the previous year’s note. One time I had their older sister do it because I was too lazy. She actually wrote that: I’m writing you this comforting note because mom is too lazy, love, your sister.

    Go with your strengths!

  49. AlanaM October 19, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

    And I’ll add I live in earthquake country too – San Jose.

  50. Yan Seiner October 19, 2012 at 3:09 pm #

    @AlanaM: I love that note! It’s perfect! And probably more effective than some long lengthy set of instructions or exhortations or effusive love comments. :-)

  51. Warren October 19, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

    I am so lucky to be alive, as are all of my peers.
    How did we ever survive without comforting notes from Mommy, during the blackout, blizzard, tornado, and the like?
    For one if I made a bag like this, I would have to make one every couple days, because they would either lose it, or eat what is in there.
    Now if it is being stored by the school, it is counter productive. I do not want the teachers looking for and handing out little care packages. I want them dealing with cuts, bumps, upset kids, and making sure the kids and surroundings are safe.
    The notion that kids today need this source of comfort implies that they are helpless waifs.
    An all purpose snack box for the whole class, would be so much better. Each parent can make a contribution, and there would probably be more in total. Skip the toys from home, and the notes, they only serve as reminders of what they are missing. They are not helpless.

  52. Havva October 19, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

    Wow, it sounds like the blogger at Swistle, went in a really dark direction over a little note that is just supposed to say. “Mommy loves you, I’ll be there as soon as I can. Until then listen to your teacher.”

    It sounds like a budget cuts issue, and that is pretty sad. If there is an extended evacuation, these packs will make an administrative mess. My daughter’s daycare has an evacuation backpack in each classroom with contact info for the child, critical medications, and diapers. The director keeps a tube of sunscreen, individual servings bags with a variety of snacks, juices, and water bottles, in hampers. The hampers just get set on the ground and by the looks of things the kids can just have at it whenever they get hungry. Nice and simple, earthquake tested and refined.

  53. Jenna October 19, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

    At our school, the kids are required to have an emergency pack too. In it is an information page of whom to contact, a bottle of water, a snack, and then they asked us to put in something “for comfort” for our child. This seems weird to me because the things that comfort my child are things he wouldn’t want tucked away in a pack for an entire school year–a certain stuffed animal, a pillow, etc. So it was stressful trying to figure out with the kids what to put in their packs. They all decided on books–funny enough, they chose books we have on our shelf that haven’t ever been read because if they chose books we read a lot, we’d miss those over the course of a year. So how can an item that is not familiar to them bring them comfort? And, really, what kind of emergency is the school thinking would happen that would make it so our kids would need to be comforted by an item in an emergency pack?

  54. EdnaKay October 19, 2012 at 5:54 pm #

    We have to do those notes at daycare and include a family picture. Given the commutes in Southern California, there is a real possibility that some kids might be waiting at their school for a day or two before a parent could pick them up if there is a Northridge-style earthquake during business hours. I live about 20 miles from my office, and that’s not uncommon.

    The suggestion at our daycare was to say something like, we love you, we’ll be there soon, be good for your teachers. Not very scary.

  55. Andrew October 19, 2012 at 6:33 pm #

    Okay, the letter to your kids I understand. When I was in the navy ready to deploy to the first gulf war,several men in my unit asked me to video tape messages to their kids in case they didn’t return. I know cops and firefighters who have written notes to their infant kids for the same reason. These people work in very dangerous conditions. There are a lot of things we wish we could say to the people we love that we never get to say.
    However, these types of letters are very private and intimate. A moment of total honesty between parent and child. Where does a school get off telling a parent, not only to write such a letter,but requiring a child to carry it with them. Oh, yes in an emergency life or death situation someone has the time and clarity of though to sit and read a letter. If a child is that centered then he/ or she already knows how mom and dad feels about them.
    Oh, and by the way. most if not all emergency kits that are effective would contain items that would violate a modern American school’s zero tolerance rules on weapons, drugs, and alcohol.
    And one more thing, I have an emergency kit as recommended by the dept. of homeland security and Sarah Connor. (Terminator Reference)

  56. pentamom October 19, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

    It looks to me as though the Swistle blogger was reacting to things that were said on Twitter when she referred to the last thing your child will ever read from you. So, no, that wasn’t something the school suggested, but apparently it WAS a reaction actual people had, and actually envidioned themselves writing, not just something the blogger or Amy just made up.

  57. pentamom October 19, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

    *envisioned

  58. JJ October 19, 2012 at 9:02 pm #

    Yes, the blogger was reacting (very dramatically) to the reactions on twitter that she saw regarding suggestions from one or more school to leave a “comforting note”. Amy reacted to the blogger’s reaction and now we are reacting to Amy’s reaction.

    Ok maybe, arguably, the emergency kit and note are taking our child’s comfort too far but isn’t the real problem that some parents use this note as an opportunity to obsess about how their child is just bound to die in a disaster, away from home? A chance to wallow in worst first thinking?

  59. Donna October 19, 2012 at 10:10 pm #

    “However well meaning the emergency/ comfort kits, it perpetuates the idea that kids can not handle any discomfort, stress or out of the ordinary event without their parents and/or a snack. Children are actually pretty resilient and there are few emergencies that a granola bar and capri sun are actually going to solve.”

    Exactly!!

    Life is full of emergencies and you need to be able to roll with the punches. I don’t know a single person over 18 who has made it through their entire life without some emergency situation making life damn inconvenient and/or scary for awhile being thrust on them. Be it blizzards, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires or man-made emergencies. All occur with sufficient regularity in various places to make experiencing at least one of them in your life a sure thing.

    Every year at the open house, the head of my child’s school gives her tsunami speech. It is basically – The school is in a tsunami-safe zone. In the event of a tsunami of epic portions, we have a plan to evacuate. Take care of yourself where ever you are and get yourself to safety. Trying to get here is going to put your life at risk. Your children will be safe and well-cared for with us.

    And I have no doubt that that is true. In the event of an earthquake or tsunami, my child will be okay without special snacks and a love note from mom. The adults at her school, and in the surrounding neighborhood, will see that all the kids are safe, will feed those who are hungry, give water to those who are thirsty, bandage those who are bleeding and comfort those who are scared. The older kids will help the younger kids (school is pre-k -12). Classmates will comfort and entertain each other. If I didn’t believe that to be true, my kid wouldn’t be in the school.

  60. hineata October 19, 2012 at 11:12 pm #

    Okay, don’t usually disagree with all you sensible people, but do this time. Am still sending my kids with their very basic kits. The purpose of said is not at all to comfort them, but to prepare them, to leave them able to have a measure of independence should a natural emergency occur.

    The school kits are a must, the purpose being that the school may not be able to rely on Civil Defence, the Army etc being available for help for a reasonable measure of time (possibly a day or two, in the case of Wellington) . Our schools generally have the school supplies for each class in the classroom concerned. These involve quite large supplies of water, some food etc. It is possible that in the States you are more able to rely on your state civil authorities. Ours are generally excellent too, but because a big quake in this mountainous island country of ours will leave areas blocked off from one another, preparedness only makes common sense.

    Again, personally I think a note is just silly, but each to their own. I just do not agree that emergency preparedness is worst-first thinking. In my children’s case, I feel it sponsors confidence and an extra degree of independent thinking. And muesli bars are light, easy to carry and, when you’re hungry, relatively filling. A child will not starve to death in a day or two, but having a small amount of food in their tummies helps the rational thinking processes. Also, although hopefully this is rare, I once had my principal completely flip out in a small earthquake, fortunately before any kids were around, so I wouldn’t rely completely on other adults being helpful in a disaster. I expect my kids to be able to think and act for themselves should the need arise.

    So, we will carry on doing what we do, and bugger the idea that it’s helicoptering….:-). In the words of the wonderful Baden-Powell, Be Prepared…..

  61. linvo October 19, 2012 at 11:18 pm #

    Just wow…

    Do they recommend parents tell their kids everything they would otherwise regret they had not told them in case they die before every car trip too?

    It is such self-indulgent behaviour. It is not at all focused on the child, it is totally focused on how the parents would feel if their kids would die. To me it seems like some weird kind of psycho-analysis for the future.

  62. Library Diva October 20, 2012 at 3:22 am #

    I don’t think the kit itself is a bad idea. There are all kinds of non-catastophic situations where a little kit with an activity, a snack, a bottle of water, maybe a little blanket or an extra pair of socks wouldn’t b e abad idea. In fact, I create a little kit like that for my car every year right around now. I live in the Northeast and was trapped on a highway for three hours a couple of years ago in a bad winter storm. So now try to be ready, just in case it ever happens again. Most people around here have a story like that: a few years ago, a busful of kids had to hole up at a Wendy’s when snow paralyzed the city )10 inches in 2 hours).

    So I can see the valye in the kit. The note, though, just strikes me as creepy and fucked up and I really don’t see the point. How come more people just didn’t say “No, I”m not doing this” or send the kit without the note?

  63. Buffy October 20, 2012 at 7:49 am #

    To all those whose schools require these kits, where are they kept (I am not familiar with them)? Does each kid have it in the desk, locker, or backpack? Are they kept in a single location in the classroom (and once kids move from room to room during the day, which classroom?) Are they in the office?

    I guess I’m wondering about the accessibility of the individual kits in the event of a major weather disaster or lockdown.

  64. hineata October 20, 2012 at 9:54 am #

    Schools here usually either keep them in the classroom or in side rooms off the school hall. Buildings are mostly single story and wooden, so not too much rubble to dig through to get to them in the event the building actually collapses. In the Christchurch quakes I believe none actually did, so the emergency supplies were easily accessible.In the schools I’ve worked in the classroom stuff isn’t actually individual – it’s all put in one or two big containers and would just be dished out to everyone as necessary. Year by year, if the food remains unused (which is usually the case) it is sent off to food banks.

  65. CrazyCatLady October 20, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

    We had to do a kit when my daughter went to a school in CA. It had some juice, some crackers and jerky. It was supposed to keep the kid happy for a couple of hours, and would probably help distract the kids for a little bit if there was a big earthquake. I lived within walking distance of the school, but often traveled over to the next town (about 15 miles) to shop. Dad also worked there. There were numerous bridges and overpasses, I could see being separated for up to a day (especially as I had the younger siblings) because alternate routes also would have had the possibility of fallen electrical lines and redwoods.

    At the end of the year, if the teacher remembered, all the kits were given back to the kids. Most kids ate their supplies on the way home on the bus.

    It was never suggested to write a note. Thank goodness.

  66. Warren October 21, 2012 at 3:00 am #

    How bout a note

    “Hey Kiddo,

    Stuck at school, until I come and get you. Sucks to be you.

    Love Dad”

  67. Susan October 21, 2012 at 9:10 pm #

    While I agree the implication that this could be the last communication your child get from you is worst case thinking and over the top, I don’t think an emergency note in a kit would be. Certainly a school can care for a child but in the event of a true emergency, it would be nice to be prepared with a little extra nourishment and something of comfort. I’m an adult and during an emergency I am not nonchalant and tend to look for the comfort of family/loved ones. Of course most children would be the same. So a photograph of family, a teddy to cuddle – just buy a new one for the purpose – and an encouraging, uplifting note from mom and dad, would have a calming effect and make the situation a little easier. Same things go for a water bottle, a nourishing snack, and maybe a blanket. It just makes sense to be prepared. It doesn’t take that long top put together and if it makes a scary situation easier to handle, why not do it? Will they survive without the these comforts? Sure. But it’s not that big of a deal to provide what the school asks for, right? I don;t see emergency preparedness as being paranoid. Don’t others on here have supplies in their homes in case of an emergency? Do you not have things like flashlights, extra food and water stored for emergencies? We’ve had several situations where we were without power from storms for days and we were always prepared and had everything we needed and it was a great comfort to us, knowing it didn’t matter what any stores ran out of or if the water stopped running because we were covered with our necessities.

  68. Jane October 23, 2012 at 4:05 am #

    We’ve discussed the “notes in earthquake backpacks” at my school. The idea was to make it relatively upbeat but still touching letter that would reassure the kid if he was separated from mom and dad for like hours – or maybe even days. But of course it’s a short step to “last letter”. I asked what was wrong with just having a little stuffed animal or some momento to cuddle. But apparently that’s not special or reassuring enough. Because “We may never see you again, but we will always love you” is SO reassuring to a child as they are trapped in a makeshift earthquake shelter.

  69. JP November 9, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

    @Carol –
    Why does your wonderful comment sound so much like hauntingly nostalgic good old-fashioned common sense?
    (the kind that this good old freaked out world seems to be longing for – but wishes to obtain from pills, phone apps, techno-miracles, false promises, hail mary wishes – and everything under the sun except human ingenuity and actual *gasp* independent thinking!?)
    I dunno – I think that we’re just smart enough to recognize that much of the real danger we face presents itself in the form of institutions we’re supposed to learn to trust (and that is indeed, a scary thought) but while we whistle past the graveyard pretending not to notice how truly helpless that can make us feel, as a collective dysfunctional society…..we displace genuine functional child-rearing skills and exchange them with nonsense.
    When I was a young parent – maturity soon followed the advent of arriving parenthood. That’s how it worked.
    I think somehow, too many have learned to doubt their own ability to do this anymore.
    What this suggests is an actual infantilizing of those mandated with the job of raising infants – into maturity.
    There is nothing more heartbreaking in this world I think – than a child who is older than their parent.
    That reversal of universal order turns us into a mockery of natural law.
    Kids look to us (for support, understanding, strength, wisdom) to know exactly how to take the gazzilion “what if’s” and file them smartly in their proper place. That’s where they belong.
    Scouting taught me to learn how to be prepared.
    99% of that preparation happens inside. The other 1% is (debatedly) external props. Cheap & Easy.

    respect and admiration to you and yours –

  70. Tragic Sandwich March 5, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

    Baguette’s day care had us do this. We just wrote that everything was going to be fine, and that her teachers would make sure she was safe. Her emergency pack now contains clothes, food, water, and a comforting note. Really? This is a problem?

    Getting all up-in-arms over the subliminal messaging is worse, IMO.

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