Ever read scary stories online? I used to, but over time I grew disenamored; every few stories would just be a "killing kids" or "toddlers dying" story. I saw a post recently where someone compared it to jump-scares. It is, it's a literary jump-scare: a cheap reaction play.

What makes it worse is that it clearly comes from a place of a younger author, or someone with no kids or dependents of their own.

Why is it so clear? Because being a steward for a small human is, in and of itself, full of fear and constant worry. That's the trick of the job.

The ways you can go wrong include accidental harm, yes; but to think that's the worst outcome is mundane and naive.

You can do a lot wrong and it's a continual balancing act. You have to put your mind, heart, and body into everything in a way these young authors can't fathom.

"What if I fail them when they need me most? What if I can't be there in an emergency? What if someone takes advantage of them? Leads them astray? How can I make sure they know right from wrong? Do I know right from wrong? What if they need independence and I can't let them go?"


Any of those questions, if you dive deep, can be horrific and existentially dreadful to write about. Violence is easier and much less effort. But, it's kind of lame and about as realistic as a foam monster covered in red-dyed corn syrup jumping out of the shadows.

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