real life

"I'm so sad that my children had to do this today."

What happened at my son’s school today is a sad reality of the world we live in.

Today, my sons learnt what to do in the event of an intruder entering school grounds. Philip, 10, happily informed me of the plan last night while we were getting ready for bed.

“Mum, tomorrow we’re going to practice what to do if an intruder enters the school. The ‘intruder alarm’ is going to go off and we’re going to practice.”

“That’s nice,” I said, trying to swallow the fear I immediately felt at the very thought of this ever occurring and then I swiftly changed the topic so he wouldn’t have the chance to pick up on how freaked out I am at the idea.

Philip was clearly quite excited to do the exercise. Anything that gets him out of doing actual school work usually has that affect. Giovanni is just 6, so while he’ll go along with what’s happening during the drill, I’m not sure if he’ll fully comprehend the importance of it.

I felt equal parts terrified and comforted today, at least that’s how I felt before hearing the news of the terrorist raids conducted this morning by Federal Police and ASIO. In the very suburb in which we live. All to prevent a possible terrorist act. How I felt after that can be more accurately be described as complete and total panic.

Most days I allow myself to remain under the happy illusion that my children are safe while they are at school and that we are safe because we live in a nice, quite, family-friendly suburb. When Australia’s terrorism alert was raised to ‘high’ I thought that avoiding the city and large crowds might be a smart thing to do.

It never occurred to me that the danger would be so close.

And what I kept thinking was, “What will we do? What will I do? How will I keep us safe? How will I keep my children safe?”


I want my babies home right now.

Then, logic kicked in and I realised some important truths:

1. They caught them.

2. The school acted. In fact, they do intruder drills and fire drills every year. My children are empowered and as safe as possible.

3. Altering our lives and behaviour prevents nothing. All it does is helps the terrorist terrify us. I refuse to let that occur.

4. My children don’t understand how dangerous the world is in which they live, and so they shouldn’t. They are kids who deserve to enjoy their childhood. Worrying is my job and I’m happy to carry that burden and relieve them of it.

So while I impatiently wait for my boys to get off the school bus at 3:15pm, I will do my best to stay calm. Because in reality, we’re more likely to be involved in a household accident than in a terrorist attack. And at the end of the day, we can’t do anything to prevent one occurring.

But the AFP and ASIO can, and they did.

My son’s school can, and they did.

And I can go about my day happy in the knowledge that while danger is all around us in many forms, we are as safe as we can possibly be.

Have you changed any of your daily routine as a result of the “high” terrorism level?

Like this? Then try:

Daniel’s Dad: “Honour my son by keeping your kids safe”.

How to talk to your kids about what’s happening in the media without scaring them.

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