What’s scarier? Watching your child get a broken leg or a broken heart? Hearing his groans as he falls off the monkey bars or out of the job market?

While the new Youtube video of an Ohio couple’s “horrifyingly awesome” backyard rollercoaster is no doubt spurring some controversy among parenting experts (if such an expert can exist), our own David Mills speculates that perhaps Blessed John Paul II’s words of wisdom can put this whole parenting thing in perspective: “Be not afraid.”

I didn’t pay much attention when John Paul II was elected, nor to his first sermon as pope,  but some years later when I first came across his declaration “Be not afraid,” I thought it a pretty lame declaration with which to start one’s work . . .

But I was still young then and had not seen how many ways the world has to make you afraid. Just have children and a world of imagined and unimaginable horrors will present itself to you, and minor inconveniences or hurts will appear to be losses from which your child will never recover, and every decision and choice one that can lead as easily to misery as to success . . .

And suddenly, if you’re blessed, you’ll hear our Lord say through the pope, “Be not afraid.” It will be no longer a platitude, but the Dominical instruction that directs your life to its proper ends. Your child can be a saint with a degree from the obscure college as well as the elite one, a truth fear quickly drives straight from your mind. The parent is happier who does not fear for the means because Christ has secured the end.

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