Jan. 22, 2000

Worry and How I Try to Talk Myself Out of It

8:30 PM:

It's going to be a long evening. Younger Son (age 15) has gone to yet another rock concert and this one is (for me) the most stressful yet.

He and five friends went to see their guitar teacher's band's first real concert. It's a showcase of up-and-coming Quebec bands. The problem I have with it is, it's out of town.

Not wayyyyyyyy out of town but maybe an hour's drive, in the town of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu (St. John on the Richelieu River). The guitar teacher arranged to rent a bus for friends of the band to travel there for the concert.

All right, at least he's not driving in a car with a bunch of drunken teenagers. At least it's not snowing tonight. But it is one of the coldest days of the year - minus 21 C (6 below zero F.) with a wind chill of minus 36 C (33 below zero, brrrrrr!) The radio is warning of black ice on the roads. (That's ice that masquerades as clear pavement in order to fool unsuspecting drivers. Whee.)

The kids were to meet the bus at a local mall at 4:30, to be in plenty of time for the concert at 7. Return time is estimated to be 12:30 AM. I'm one of the pickup drivers but I don't mind that, despite the late hour and the cold. The mall is only ten minutes away and I will be just so happy to hear that he's back in one piece.

Besides the bus, I'm also worrying about the concert crowd, the mosh pit, whether the electrical system is safe (the French cable video channel is in to film the thing, can the wires handle the load?) and of course all the flu germs he'll encounter.

So why did I let him go? Because I was an overprotected child - the direct result of which are the above paragraphs. I was taught to be fearful. I was taught to look for the dangers in everyday life and to think first about those, rather than the beauty and excitement of new experiences.

Overprotection is a parental self-indulgence that the child pays for, and keeps paying for long after the event in question has faded from memory. Of course I'm not advocating neglect or permissiveness - far from it. To me, though, overprotection IS a form of neglect, in that it starves the child's spirit and stifles his/her emotional growth. The overly permissive parent is really saying, "I don't care enough about you," while the sheltering parent is saying, "You're not capable, I don't trust you." Slightly different message, equally destructive result.

So, I endure a few uncomfortable evenings for the sake of Younger Son's happiness. I think it's well worth the effort.

1 AM:

He's back and all's well. I didn't even have to go out.. another of the parents brought him home. He had a great time and now I can sleep. Till the next time.

Linque Du Jour:   The Montreal Cam

This page links to ten live cameras around the Montreal area, including several views of downtown and Old Montreal, and my favourite, a view of the penguin area in the Biodome museum/zoo. Some of the cameras are equipped with time-lapse animation.. you can watch the penguins dive into the pool! (Yes I'm easily amused.. but the views of the city are worth the visit anyway.)

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