Today, as we drove out for a quick breakfast at one of our favorite restaurants, my husband called my attention to a woman who was out for a walk...and who appeared to have her priorities completely backwards.
'What is wrong with this picture?' Mike asked, as he pointed to a young woman, who, having just rounded the corner onto the busy street, cell phone to her ear, a dog on a leash, and a toddler trailing behind her.
Now, not to be all 'better than thou'...but where on earth was her sense of priorities? Why would the dog be on a leash, and not the child? Why was the child 'trailing behind her', and not up front where he could be seen? And why in the world was she on her cell phone?!?
I know I will sound extremely old-fashioned when I say this, but in my day, when our children were small, they were NEVER behind me. They walked where I could see them at all times, whether we were on a street, the park, the mall...and they never left without being securely fastened into their harnesses.
Of course, I would leave them free to run if we went to the park, or somewhere that they would be able to play, with me counting heads at every moment, you can bet! ~ but to the mall, or walking a busy street, I would never have had my cell phone to my ear, talking the whole time to someone who, no doubt, could very easily wait until we got home...not unless my children were in my sight.
It is possible that the person with whom she was so engrossed ~ to the point of completely ignoring her own child ~ was calling with a dire emergency, but judging by the way she was strolling along, I sincerely doubt it.
Our daughter Clare has told me time and again how she will observe people at the mall who leave the stores with their children as far away from them (and usually behind them) as a good 20-30 feet! No care as to what they are doing, lagging behind, no worries about anyone who may come along and just snatch them up, no concern about their getting lost, trying to find the parents who have already left the store and 'where did they go?!?'
A few years ago, I was at the mall with our daughters Theresa & Laura. They were in their late teens; we were just leaving the Harmony House store. Just outside the store, there was a small boy, about 2.5-3 years old, crying his eyes out, looking for his Dad and brother...who were in the store, trying to find him! We knew that this man had probably told his children that they should never go with strangers ~ what parent hasn't been through that talk, eh? ~ and so we stood to the side, watching to see that nothing happened to him, noting that the father came running out to the storefront as soon as he spotted his young son.
He scooped him up into his arms, hugging him as tight as he could...'Don't ever do that! Why did you leave the store?! I told you to stay by me!'
I have no doubt that this man had tried to keep his two young boys in tow, but I couldn't help wondering, 'Why didn't he just put them both into harnesses?'
They were certainly both of that age, when youngsters will wander, and be gone in an instant! And all it takes is one careless moment...and it's all over.
I could go on here, relating story after story, but some of it's too much for this post...it will have to wait. The point of this entry is to say simply that, in no uncertain terms, do I condone anyone's letting their animals run loose. Of course they should be kept on a leash...it's for their protection and for ours.
But when will we take the same care to keep guard over our children? Why are they allowed wander where it isn't safe? If parents don't choose to make use of the harness, that is totally up to them. I did, and I don't regret it. I am not sorry...it did no harm to my children, and with eight of them in tow, it was my lifeline.
But to let them lag behind in crowded malls, to leave them unattended on busy streets ~ that is unconscionable.
If there is one thing given to us by Almighty God that is worth keeping safe, it is our children. And I will be eternally grateful to Him that mine are safe to this day......