What Are We Afraid Of?

I saw a video on Facebook recently depicting a young man doing a “social experiment”. At a park where mothers were watching their young children play, he would approach the mother, and ask them if their child would talk to a stranger. In the examples shown, the mother would always answer in the negative, saying their child was taught not to talk to strangers. With the mother’s permission, the man would then approach their child and start up a conversation. In each instance, the child would eagerly and freely converse with him. Then, the child would take the man’s hand and walk out of the park with him, having been told he/she would get to see more puppies. Now, he cheated in the fact he had a puppy with him, but then would a child abductor not use the same or similar tactic?

My point: The video saddened me because the purpose of it was to make parents more aware—which translates to afraid—of how easy it is for a bad person to lure their child away. We live in a fear-filled society. I see it every day.

cell phones 1 (2)I see it in this picture, which is of the same children, ten to fifteen years later, who were raised to fear everyone and everything around them. They’re teenagers and young adults now who stand together almost daily at the bus stops scattered throughout our relatively small and safe city. I see them several times a day as I take my walks, and it is rare that I see two of them talking to one another. They are together, and yet they are not. When I meet one on the sidewalk, they refuse to make eye contact, typically using their “phone” as a reason to ignore me. I greet them anyway, and some—fifty percent, I’d say—answer me with a smile and a hello. The rest of them don’t acknowledge me at all, and some look like they want to either, run, kick my butt, or scream for the cops. (I hate it when that last one happens.)

But seriously—because this is a serious subject—why is this?

When did our society become so fearful?

What can we do about it?

I don’t know.

All I know to do is continue being who I am and hope my smile, my greeting, my love for each person I come in contact with will cause them to step out of their safe place. But… wait… by teaching them to be unafraid, am I putting them in danger? Am I setting them up for the evil that may lurk behind the next smiling face they encounter?

In his inaugural speech, FDR famously said, “The only thing we have to fear is… fear itself.” The Bible talks about not being afraid in over 300 verses. FDR was right, and few these days seem to care what the Bible says. And, with regard to the latter… therein lies the problem. Just my opinion.

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1 Comment »

  1. Sherry Mashburn said

    Great perspective . . .

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