This was originally published on Medium.
Of all the problems I thought I would have as a parent, worrying that your child is too pure of heart and spirit wasn't one of them. I mean, he is related to me after all.I thought I would have to worry about him being a smart-alec, or beating up other kids. I was totally unprepared for Jakob's purity and innocence. It terrifies me. It is amazing to watch him. He is completely oblivious to the less pleasant facets of life. When a child is mean to him, he has no idea. He just goes on as if nothing happened. When another child takes a toy from him, Jakob just laughs and finds another to play with. Don't get me wrong, he's not perfect. He's 5 years old and he does the things 5 year olds do. He acts out from time to time, throws fits every once in a while. In this sense he is normal. Having said that, he is also exceptionally unique. When he enters a room, he brings with him joy, love and innocence. People immediately respond to it, and they notice its absence when he leaves. I am caught in this horrible place of needing to prepare my son for the world and its less than stellar environment, while trying with all of my might to not destroy this beautiful, innocent little child that has been given to me. I am terrified of what the world will do to him if he doesn't begin to understand that it isn't this beautiful, safe place he believes it to be. Every time he hugs someone he just met, or gives someone we barely know a kiss I simultaneously marvel and cringe. It is a profound condemnation of what we have become as a society, that I am experiencing these struggles. I shouldn't have to choose between crushing his innocence, or setting him up to be taken advantage of. I just shouldn't have to.