The Parent Ren, Part IV: The Big Bad World Out There

There was a tremendous earthquake in Mexico City today, 32 years to the day of the big one in 1985. (Seriously, what are the odds?) There is also a category 5 hurricane heading to Puerto Rico. In Myanmar, the army is systematically killing Muslims as the survivors of the “cleansing” are making their way to Bangladesh by the thousands. The wars in Syria and Iraq continue. Afghanistan is a mess.

Baltimore is on pace for about 350 homicides and to be, per capita, the murder capital of the country.

It’s a really scary world out there if you let it. When you get consumed by all the bad news, it’s no wonder to me that people want to have guns at home or carry them in their person. Although we’re at a historical low in violent crime in the United States, the news is chock-full of stories of mass shootings, rapes, random crime and all sorts of evil people doing evil things.

Our President repeats lies about immigrants and Muslims, pitting neighbor against neighbor.

I was sitting on the couch today with my little girl, and I was scanning through the news on my phone. The things I was reading and seeing were horrible, and I found myself really worried about her. I worried about what kind of world she was going to grow into. But then I remembered my grandfather telling me about the day Pearl Harbor got bombed. And then I remembered dad telling me about the day JFK was assassinated.

Their worlds were also very scary, and scary things surely happened as they were raising their children. And here I was, getting scared over the world around my little, innocent baby. Suddenly, Baby Ren1 reached out and grabbed my finger and squeezed hard. I snapped out of my fear and instead felt hope.

The odds are good that this little girl is going to live well into the end of the century. In that time, she will see and hear about horrible things. But she will also learn about what to do when confronted with evil and how to confront evil. Her parents are two people who have managed to get in and get out of very sticky situations, and we’ve also devoted our lives to professions that are all about helping others. We are modeling the behavior the world will need from her.

Yeah, I’ll probably be up at all hours of the night worried about her for all sorts of reasons from here on out, but that’s okay. I’ve been up at all hours of the night worrying about other people and lesser things. I’ve gone to the rescue of stranger and to the aid of people who never really deserved it. This little girl deserves all that now, and the world deserves her.

1Codename, not her actual name.

I'm a doctoral candidate in the Doctor of Public Health program at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. All opinions posted here are my own, of course, and they do not necessarily reflect the opinions of my school, employers, friends, family, etc. Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @EpiRen