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It Takes a Village to Raise a Child –

Is that really a good thing?

We were taking care of our grandkids. Their parents were out of town. 8 AM – ten minutes to the bell. The kids and I were rushing out the door, when my four year old grandson, without any warning or obvious provocation threw a tantrum. His “weapon” of choice was to shriek at the top of his lungs.

My knickers were in a twist.

His siblings feared being late for school and were getting more and more agitated by the decibel. There was no way I was going to take a shrieking child out in public – not because I was embarrassed, but because I wasn’t his mother. I seriously had visions of someone – not minding their own business – and calling the cops in fear of child abduction and then, when asked who the woman was, my grandkids would shrug their shoulders and say, “Don’t know! Never seen her before!” just to get back at me for not letting them watch TV until they threw their dirty laundry into the hamper.

I resolved the matter in an instant. I gave the “shrieker” a choice: either he shut up on the spot, not a word until we get to school, or he would be left at home with the Big Guy, until I got back and was ready to take him to day care. The Big Guy is far less fearful than Grandma, more like a big teddy bear, but for whatever reason, the little guy chose me and off we went.

By the time we dropped the twins off at school and made our way to kiddie-school, we were all smiles, holding hands and chanting, “Step on a crack, you break your grandma’s back!”

Kids’ tantrum are like spring thunder storms – they explode unexpectedly out of the blue, but once they’re over, they’re gone.

Yea, with 10 grandkids (and having raised kids of my own) I’m somewhat familiar first hand with the juggling acts moms perform and the blazing hoops they jump through just to get through the day. For the most part I get it and wholeheartedly sympathize with them.

Being a mom is indeed the most difficult job around and oftentimes the least appreciated.

I recently read a post (and the comments that followed) by an angry mom, who left her 10 year old daughter asleep in the back of the car, as she rushed to buy some groceries, and a concerned citizen called the police and berated her for her actions. She was indignant that the man was aggressive, quick to judge and lacked compassion. As she put it, his legitimate concern for the well-being of her daughter boiled over into inappropriate hostility. Why didn’t he just mind his own business? She didn’t break the law or anything; it’s her child and she knows what’s right for her. And, if she, as a mom, made a mistake, well – she’s only human.

I agree, the concerned citizen acted in haste. He had alternatives. He could’ve tapped on the window and awakened the child to find out, if she was okay. He could’ve written down the license number and asked the store manager to make an announcement over the loudspeaker. Like the mom, he was acting in the moment, without seeing the bigger picture and the potential ripple effect one simple action creates.

Indeed, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

But, what’s the alternative?

Just think, what might happen the next time a concerned citizen sees a child in a compromised situation? She’s about to take action on the child’s behalf, but then says to herself, “You’re overreacting. Mind your own business. Do you really want to get an earful from an indignant parent or find yourself the butt of ridicule on social media?”

And so she walks away and does nothing.

Chances are, the child will come to no harm. BUT – what if it is the one time – the one time – the child is in real danger?

Isn’t his life worth a few ruffled feathers or bruised egos of parents falsely accused of neglect, because a concerned citizen was, let’s say, only human?

There is no simple answer and people’s feelings tend to get in the way, but the way I see it, we are all here to look out for one another and it’s always better to be safe rather than sorry. 

Suggestion: When you take action, unless the child is in immediate danger, don’t do anything rash. Take a deep breath, count to ten, and seek the best solution that doesn’t inflict collateral damage.

It’s time to take control of our lives.

It’s Time 2 Lead.

It’s time to THRIVE

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