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There’s a viral video going around showing a guy “testing” kids and “proving” that kids are easily abducted. Lenore already summed this up and I can’t add anything else to that side.

But I do have things to say. This whole kid abduction thing is weighing on me. A lot. It’s just exhausting to think that the boogie man is lurking around every corner. I still want to support every parent’s choice, but I still feel like we’re missing something, like this is just another way to polarize us. Now instead of camp breast-feeding and camp formula we’re camps free-range and camp helicopter. Why can we just be camp parent?

What we’re missing is the “what do we do now?” plan. We’re so focused on staying in this rut that we can’t see a way out, a way forward that includes a way for our kids to be safe and happy and worry-free, a way we can all support each other as one giant group of parents who just want what’s best for our kids. We have to come up with a new way of doing things.

I got lucky when I found a house I liked. Turns out, it’s in a good neighborhood with good neighbors. Not a single child abductor for miles. But I’ll admit I didn’t do any valuable research in regard to the neighborhood. Didn’t ask anyone what it was like to live here, didn’t check out the parks, didn’t ask if kids walked to school or if that was considered a punishable offense. I say most of this tongue in cheek, but it’s also kind of true. Somewhere along the way (when we stopped living in villages) I lost sight of priorities. I made choosing a home all about square footage and curb appeal and I forgot what it was like to be a neighbor, a kind person, a helpful parent to kids who aren’t mine. I didn’t think about any of those things when I picked out a neighborhood.

And yet, neighborhoods shape who we are as people. The one I grew up in shaped me. It’s shaping my kids. But there’s a force that even my cute neighborhood can’t reckon with, can’t compete with, and it’s in every. single. home.

The media.

Since 9/11 we’ve let the media fill us with fear. We’ve allowed them to tell us what to think, what to be afraid of, what to worry about. According to them, there’s danger on every corner, terrorists in every shadow, child abductors on every street. I think it’s time to take back our families. And mamas, I think it’s also up to us to lead the change. I know we can do it, but we have to hurry. Because if we wait then people like that guy in the video are going to help the media fill us with fear. To get there as fast as possible, I’m challenging you to turn off the news for one month.

30 Day Challenge #mediablackout

Yes, I know there’s an election coming–IN 500+ DAYS–I promise the candidates will repeat (repeatedly) anything they say during the next 30 days. You won’t miss anything.

Yes, I know bad things will happen. People will go to jail, people will get shot, people will get killed, cars will wreck, highways will close, fires will burn homes to the ground. But unless it’s in your neighborhood, you couldn’t have done anything to prevent it and it will not impact your life (unless it’s someone you know, and then I promise you will be notified in a manner other than in the media.)

(and yes, maybe 1 out of 1 million stories will be about a child abduction… when’s the last time you saw one? One that wasn’t an abduction by someone the child knew, but by a real boogie man–a real stranger? I can’t remember the last one.)

Yes, some good things will happen too. And the media will report it if they run out of bad things to tell us about. But it’s not enough good to outweigh the bad. It’s just not. I mean, really, think about the last time you watched the news. Did you come away from a 30 minute broadcast feeling light and airy and that all was right with the world? Or did something outrage you? Did it make you mad? Sad? Frustrated? Did you then turn it off and talk about it during dinner, or later in the evening? Did your kids hear you as you discussed the horror, the disappointment, the frustration with the world as the media shows it to us? Mine did.

What are we doing to them????

We’re showing them that the world is filled with bad, and ugly, and fear. We still have a chance to fix this. But we have to work together. We have to make a stand as mamas that we’re not going to take it anymore. NO ONE tells us how to parent.

Yet…

That’s exactly what we’re doing. Isn’t it?

We’re allowing the media to tell us what to fear, which is impacting the way we parent.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not okay with that. I tell my kids that they get to choose love, and kindness and compassion… yet that’s not what I’m doing. By watching the media and getting sucked into that awful, soiled darkness, I’m choosing fear. I don’t want to choose fear. I want to choose love. I want to model love for my kids. And I can’t do that if I’m feeding on what the media is serving.

I’ve done cleanse diets before, where I strip out all the junk that I put in my body. At the end, I’m more focused, more alert, more aware of my choices. I think a media cleanse will have the same affect on my family. I think we’ll be more tolerant, less scared, more hopeful. And maybe–just maybe–moving forward, we can make better choices, more informed choices that come from a place of love, not fear. Who knows, maybe we’ll figure out that the media is like sugar and McDonald’s… best in small doses.

I’m calling a #mediablackout in my house. I hope you’ll join me.

#mamapower

xo,
Jen

(Come on, it’s only 30 days. We can do anything for 30 days, right?)