Monday, August 28, 2006

Safety and relativity

I had a post brewing in my head about safety, and whether I might be putting my children at risk with the sense of security Mayberry offers. It's one thing to leave my purse in my unlocked car or keep toys outside overnight--if anything happens, those are just things that can be replaced. But is it too risky to let Jo play outside alone for a few minutes while I run into the house for something Opie needs? Was it terrible that I let her sit by herself, out of my sight, in the kids' area at Barnes & Noble the other day while I chased Opie around the train table? What would I do if I lived someplace that required more vigilance? How would I manage two kids?

Then I saw this photo essay about the children of Katrina (click on "go to interactive feature"). Like HBM's recent experience with a commenter, this knocked me completely onto my privileged, comfortable ass. The kids pictured there (and the hundreds or thousands more who weren't photographed) are so far from "safe." Even if, years from now, they have a clean, secure place to live and play, the damage will be long since done. I'm ashamed--at our country's ridiculous inability to deal with poverty, and especially at my own ignorance and complacency. How can I help? Where can I start? I'm paralyzed by the hugeness of the problem, and then I feel ashamed by that too. What do you do?

8 comments:

mothergoosemouse said...

Tacy and I watched the NYT Interactive together. First she wanted to be sure that a hurricane wouldn't happen here. Then she wanted to know how to help these people; should we send them our old things? I told her that's one way to help, and probably the most feasible way right now. She's now going from room to room, gathering items. I had to stop her from adding her Bitty Baby to the pile.

It just makes me feel helpless. I don't know what to do either, beyond donating serviceable items and cash.

Nancy said...

I think the Katrina wounds are still so raw... but I know the major assistance efforts have died down (and now there's focus on the new hurricane that's coming up...)

I honestly don't know how to help. I do think posts like yours remind the world that there's still misery, there are still people displaced and suffering because of that huge event just over a year ago.

me said...

my husband went down there last year to work. he said it was the most horrible thing he ever saw. the best thing is to try to find a church working with communities in the affected areas. anything done through government agencies never seems to reach the victims.

it disgusts me the way the governmnet agencies (on all levels) left those people, and continues to leave them, to fend for themselves. but i could rant forever on my feelings about that....

Her Bad Mother said...

I feel helpless all the time. The only way to overcome it, I find, is to remember that the little things make a difference (like, as MGM said, donating $$, items or time) - if many people do a little, it adds up to a lot. I find that it also helps to do what I can in my own community...

And, of course, writing about it. Reminding us that we NEED to think about these things, talk about these things, and DO something...

Jamie said...

I just saw this on the Parent Hacks blog about those displaced by Katrina who are now in the Los Angeles area and thought I would post the link...

http://www.parenthacks.com/2006/08/help_hurricane_.html

The important thing to do is to not forget that the recovery effort is still ongoing.

Jamie said...

Sorry the link is not showing up properly! Just stop by parenthacks.com.

Piece of Work said...

It was through the Clearing House last year that I found a few shelters who needed items, and had posted lists of items they needed, which I gladly shipped. I sent money, too, but it felt better to send goods. I'm heading back over there now to see what else I can do.

Mrs. Wheezer said...

I, too, feel so helpless. It just seems like contributing money and stuff is so insignificant compared to the enormity of the loss...