I like to talk about the happy part of mothering, not the scary, dangerous part. But sometimes it’s necessary to talk about the bad stuff, so here’s something Billy and I have used that might be helpful to some of you. Family Watchdog is the National S*x Offender Registry (word altered to prevent yucky googlers). You can easily search your area–even your street–for convicted offenders. We once decided not to buy a home in a particular neighborhood simply because an offender lived too close to the house we were looking at. I like their motto: “Awareness is your best defense.” There’s truth in that. It’s important to know who’s near you who could be a danger to your children. In a broken world, there are no guarantees that our children won’t get hurt, no matter how closely we watch–but it’s important for us as parents to be as wise and careful as possible.