Needed: Your Encounters with “What If?” Thinking

Hi Readers — One of the biggest frustrations in Free-Ranging is dealing with other people’s “What If?” fears. Why? Because they can never be answered! If a parent starts worrying about, “What if X, Y or Z happens while my child is doing…” anything, there is no way to say, “Don’t worry, it won’t.” Because, of course,  something bad always COULD possibly happen.

“What if??” doesn’t take into account probability, or even reality. It just builds big, bright, horrible possibilities and projects them, Power Point-like, into the conversation: “Ha! You tell me not to worry, but LOOK at this! This COULD happen! What if it DOES? Then what, huh? You’re going to say you’re sorry? THAT’S NOT GOING TO MAKE THINGS ANY BETTER! I simply will NOT allow this, that or the other to (possibly) happen to my child!”

And pretty soon there’s no sleepover (because what if it’s an orgy?) and no field trip (because what if the bus flips over?) and no time to play, unsupervised, with friends (because what if he breaks his arm? What if they bully him? What if he’s thirsty and he forgot his water bottle?).

I’m trying to come up with great examples for my (potential next) book because WHAT IF I don’t? Yiiiikes!

I’d like stories of other folks’ “What If?”s and your own “What If?”-ing, too: A time you worried about something, and managed to put those fears aside, and what happened next.

So I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and now let’s rock this pessimistic, paranoid culture to its core! — Lenore