Fear, Adrenaline, Curiosity

My 8 year old and I were discussing fear.

I had been listening to a fascinating podcast about turning unproductive, purposeless fear into curiosity.

I brought up our zoo’s interactive, “pettable” non-venomous snakes. Perhaps fear could be transformed in that safe moment into questions about the creature’s habitat, adaptations, and appearance.

My insightful daughter pointed out that fear can create adrenaline–which is useful for real danger.

And then my little girl broke my heart with her casual example.

Its like if you’re in the bathroom and the school goes on lockdown. But if you don’t hear the lockdown alarm because you suddenly can’t hear, and then you go outside and there’s someone with a gun….and you trip and break your legs….fear will give you adrenaline to run away even on broken legs!”

I affirmed that fear and adrenaline do work purposefully in dangerous situations while inside, unproductive fear seized my heart.

I cannot muster curiosity to combat this.

And days later, I am still heartbroken that this is a potential reality for my 8 year old, who so casually uses that situation as an example.

We have to take better care of our children. I need my autistic child to be safe. I need my neurotypical children to be safe.

I need safe schools.

I think we all agree on those points.

The problem is we disagree on how to create that safety.

please, please, please–we have to work together to make our country safer for our most vulnerable.

Our children need freedom to explore, curiosity to be nurtured, joy to be enhanced.

Instead they cower under desks in lockdown drills.

What are we doing to our children?

This mama’s heart cannot bear more tragedy in our schools.