Friday, July 1, 2011

Tragedy Narrowly Averted


I was standing right about here (though this is a picture borrowed from the internet and not mine) and was facing off to the right when I heard the guy behind me gasp and say, "Holy shit!" and then louder, "Sweetie, you need to climb down from there." I turned around to see a little girl of probably five or six years old at the neck of the sculpture and headed on up. She wasn't my daughter and my daughter later said that the girl was being bad by climbing on the sculptures which I had told my daughter not to do while visiting this sculpture park in the Urban Jungle recently.

The girl in the pink shirt paused when she heard the guy next to me utter those words and looked over at us. Then she started climbing down at a pace that I almost couldn't bear to watch and one that evidently froze me into at least running over there and standing beneath her to break her fall should she fall. Fortunately for her, mine inaction and the inaction of the other half a dozen adults standing nearby didn't come back to haunt us and about thirty seconds later, she was back down on the ground running around as if nothing happened. The guy who shouted and I could only look at each other and shake our heads in disbelief.

There was an art fair on the streets surrounding the park and there were thousands of people milling around on them but here in the park, there were only a handful of adults and of course about thirty kids running around. The parent of the girl in the pink shirt showed up thirty minutes later and walked off with her daughter in tow oblivious to the fact that her daughter might have died a tragic death due to her not being a PARENT! Parenting is not letting your five or six year old daughter roam alone in the middle of an urban city with thousands of strange adults roaming about while you go looking at art in the streets. It wasn't like she could keep an eye on her daughter from the streets either because both sides were lined with tents that blocked the view into the center of the park and stretched around the block with buildings in the way.

I used to skip articles in the paper about the tragic death of youngsters all the time until I had one of my own. Now I read all these articles and wonder how parents could let these things happen. I certainly don't hang over my daughter every second and do allow her to make mistakes and figure out how to deal with bullies, etc, but when she is in the middle of thousands of people far from home, I certainly keep her directly in my field of view at all times even if from a distance. If she were ten, twelve, fifteen, perhaps a little more leeway would be in order but this was at most a six year old girl. Fortunately this girl survived... for now, but had she not, I could just imagine the splurb about it buried on page nine with the mother tearfully saying, "I was just in the street looking at a painting for only a few minutes..."

7 comments:

Jeff said...

Some people...

Ron said...

We've always been quite protective of our daughter, some would say over-protective. I think back to all the dangerous things us kids did, though, and it's a wonder we lived through it. Some didn't.

Now, she's ten, so we're encouraging her to take some reasonable risks and try things. I do marvel, though, when we encounter parents who don't bother to coach their kids on how to play safely.

Vince said...

You certainly cannot say the kid was stupid given the thing's resemblance to a kiddy's climbing frame you see in every municipal playground.

geri said...

I wish the mom had seen that so that would give her a scare and be more responsible next time they are out in a large crowd and place like that.

Murf said...

I've seen enough of what you saw (even last night while out and about) to no longer be surprised. However, hearing stories of parents forgetting their kid was in the car and leaving them never fails to surprise me. How can you forget you have a kid in the car?!?

Ed said...

Jeff - It certainly makes me wonder sometimes.

Ron - I probably fall in the over protective category too but I have yet to lose a kid to a tragic accident and I aim to keep it that way.

Vince - She didn't know better I'm sure. My daughter ran down and put her foot on it ready to climb before I told her to no and explained that sculptures are not meant to climb on but to look at. I only had to tell her once.

Geri - Any parent who leaves their four or five year old alone in the middle of a huge gathering of strangers numbering in the thousands and wanders around for at least a half hour is probably beyond scaring. I feel sorry for the little girl to have such a parent.

Murf - I've never understood that either. I blame it on the general lack of awareness of surroundings that seems to be everywhere in people.

PhilippinesPhil said...

I think back to the latitude I had at that age and I probably would have climbed to the top of that thing as well. I might even try it now. It looks like it SHOULD be climbed.