Thursday, April 24, 2008

To interfere or to not interfere, that is the question....

I have a problem. A BIG problem. I can't stand to watch children being mistreated, either verbally, physically, or thru neglect. I've gone thru some issues this past year with one of my neighbors whose parenting values are VERY different from mine. I had been able to turn my head the other way until one of her children hurt N - then I could no longer turn the other way. We have since made peace with the situation, but I will always be very cautious when her children are around.

But, I also have trouble seeing total strangers mistreat their children. I feel like God places me in situations where I need to be used to help an innocent child. Last night was one of those times. I took my kiddos to the local "water" park. This is a city park that has water features - awesome in the HOT Texas Spring/Summer/Fall. When we were getting ready to leave, a family drove up and proceeded to get out of the car - 3 adults and a newborn. They all walked over to the picnic pavillion. Imagine my surprise when I discovered a little girl about L's age still sitting in the car. No carseat in the car, no seatbelt, and in a car alone over 100 yds from these adults. If I had been a child abductor, I could have easily pulled her out of her car and thrown her in my SUV. By the time I had buckled my kids in, the "mom" had come back to the car to get her cellphone and then went back to the pavillion. Not a word to the child. While she was still getting her phone, the "dad" came over and said "what's going on?" The mom said, "She doesn't want to get out." I hadn't heard her ask the girl anything. They both left again. I decided to write down the car's license plate and description. I pulled away but parked just a bit down the street where I could watch for a minute. (I told you I have a problem!) I got my kids back out and we played at the regular park adjacent to the water park. That little girl sat in that hot car for over 45 minutes. I ended up calling the police. It was bothering me too much. Why did they come to the park? The newborn certainly wasn't playing. The 3 adults sat at the picnic tables and talked - couldn't they have done this at home? Or in the car with the little girl?

I don't know their story, I don't know their struggles, and yet, I felt compelled to speak for the little girl. The police took over 30 minutes to get to the park after I called. By this time, the family had been gone for 5 minutes. No carseat, no seatbelt. I was sad.

Also, at this same park, there was a mom yelling at her 3 or 4 yo son. She was cursing at him and yelling, "What is wrong with you?" "Why are you so stupid?" It breaks my heart. I'm sure she doesn't know any better, I'm sure she doesn't know what that is doing to his poor little soul.

Why do I do this to myself? Why do I involve myself in things that aren't any of my business? It's a do you find the balance between meddling and really having concern for others?

Why don't I focus instead on being the best mom I can be? To do my job to the best of my ability? To have the perfect blend of discipline and fun? Why, because I'm not perfect, just like these other moms aren't perfect either. Oh, to be a parent, it's the hardest job ever. The most important job and the one with the best benefits ever!


Jenn Greeley said...

Man...that's a hard one. I'm a meddler too. Shane says its none of our business, but you know what, it is. We've had this discussion before. We all have to look out for ALL children. It takes a village, right?

Becky said...

I feel the same way and would have done the same thing, I think! I have hung around and watched questionalbe things and been known to write a plate number a time or two!! I think more people should speak up but, you have to be cautious b/c you never know what people will do!!

MammaJensKidBrother said...

What would you want a complete stranger to do if they saw N or L in danger? Shouldn't you do the same?

Min can tell u a funny story about one time I got involved when I thought some kids were in physical danger. In retrospect I overreacted, but I am still glad I intervened.