What Mel Did
What Mel Did - young female hiker

Adventurous children in an unsafe world

Whatever I was to write about this week has of course been usurped by the terrible events in Manchester. My heart aches for those who lost their lives or were injured – and those left behind to make sense of the senseless brutality.

I have read many poignant parenting posts on caregivers attempting to explain the unexplainable to small children. My challenge is different in that I now negotiate four young adults.

Not risk adverse, I was nevertheless not as strident as my late husband, Bronnie, on the age when the children could be allowed to travel on their own. They did start flying pretty early, under the guardianship of dedicated air stewards and air crew. Left to Bronnie they might have started sooner, maybe before their milk teeth had fallen out.

Over the years, though, seeing my young people travel far and wide, sometimes to the deepest outposts, I am grateful for the independence with which they were raised.

However, when they are given pause in their intrepid adventures and abruptly stilled to contemplate all the things that could go wrong, my heart aches again.

My parenting stance has always been that the children not close their lives down in fear. That often the best time to travel is right after terrorist activity when security is at a heightened level.

This position is not for every parent, and it is of course understandable we want to hold our children close and keep them in sight until we are lulled into feeling safe again in an unsafe world.

The reality, always thus, is that there is no impenetrable safe place in this world. Even the place near our heart where we would strap them forever, can be violated by those determined to do so.

Wherever I am, my children have a home, but it must continue to be a home that encourages they leave it to live, love and know fascinating people.

To keep them homebound, focussing instead on the deviants who would narrow their world, is one journey I cannot ask them to take.

Again, my inadequate condolences to all those directly and indirectly forever changed by the tragic events in Manchester this week.


  • I’m already dreading my daughter’s adult adventures and she’s only 8 1/2. I hope I can hold it together like you have so that my fears don’t hold her back. I have not stopped thinking about those poor parents in Manchester for one second since it happened. I can’t decide it it’s me getting more fearful as I get older and have more to lose, or if the world is indeed getting more dangerous. Probably a great deal of both.

  • You captured what has been in my head and heart all week. Give them wings, all while knowing there is horror out there that may clip them.