DEAR HARRIETTE: After so many recent terrorist attacks, I am afraid of being in public spaces. I do not want my adult children traveling to cities that have been attacked, either. Even using underground public transportation makes me anxious. In these times of uncertainty, what can I do to stop wanting to be a recluse? I do not feel safe. -- Safely Hiding, South Orange, New Jersey
DEAR SAFELY HIDING: There is no easy answer to your question, as locally, nationally and globally, we are dealing with a new level of seemingly daily threats. I remember from as far back as right after 9/11 that President George W. Bush urged Americans to go on with their lives -- go to work, go to school, go shopping, choose to enjoy their lives. President Obama reinforced this call for democratic behavior after the tragic shootings at schools, movie theaters and other public arenas.
I trust that you have taught your adult children to be cautious. What you don’t want is to make them afraid of what they cannot control -- random acts of terror or general violence. Instead, suggest that they check State Department reports for health and safety advisories before they travel. Remind them to be aware of their surroundings. It’s wise to avoid huge crowds as well. Do not frighten them out of believing that they should be able to live free lives.