Kid Survives Shark Attack & It Won't Ruin My Summer

sharkJust when you thought it was safe ... no, seriously though. The mom of a 6-year-old girl who was bitten by a shark off the coast of North Carolina must have felt like she was stuck in a scene from Jaws. She was only 10 feet away from her daughter -- 10 feet ! -- when the shark attacked, and they were in shallow water. "Very" shallow water. No fair! That's not supposed to happen. Now I'm supposed to be afraid to take my kids wading??

Oh, before you freak out -- the girl, who took a big chomp to her right leg and foot, is doing fine, recovering in a local hospital and pretty upbeat about the whole thing. Her reaction to the attack is priceless ...


"I hate sharks," she says. "I like dolphins way better."

Now that's what I call perspective! I doubt her mother's feelings on the topic are that simple, though. How could they be? This incident is one of those game-changing flukes when everybody is doing everything "right" and taking all the necessary precautions and then ... wham! A shark comes along and attacks your kid anyway. Right in front of you.

There's nothing that makes me feel more insecure as a parent, these reminders that anything can happen at anytime even when you're trying to be as careful as possible. But of course I don't want to raise my kids to live in a state of irrational fear. So how the hell am I supposed to get through a day at the beach without a bottle of Xanax?

I think, personally, that the only option is to practice Optimistic Justification.

Not familiar with this technique? (Probably not; I made it up.) Here's how it works -- say I had plans to take my kids to a Cape Cod beach when the story about this most recent attack made news. In order to talk myself down from being terrified, I would Optimistically Justify (to myself) why the same thing couldn't possibly happen to my kids: That little girl was at a beach in North Carolina, not Cape Cod! We'll be perfectly safe!

Try this tactic the next time a news story sends you into a panic attack.

You're welcome.

Will you let sharks keep your family away from the beach this summer?


Image via Emyr Jones/Flickr

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