What’s a Child To Do?
Sometimes in the course of life certain events break through the clutter of a day to force a question into the mind. My wife, Patricia, and I lived such an event recently.
We were walking in a very crowded place when we happened to spot two nicely dressed, blond children, a girl of about 7 and a boy of about 4, making their way through the crowd.
I asked my wife, where are those children’s parents? We followed them as they hurried through the crowd, looking obviously lost. They were so fast that we would occasionally lose them. But each time they would reappear, heading in the opposite direction, scurrying hand in hand.
At one point they stopped and started to look around; this gave us a chance to catch up to them and to speak to them. The boy told us in very clear English, “We are from Denmark..” At that point the girl pulled him by the hand and off they went again.
We caught up with them a couple of times, but we were unable to say much to them or get more than a couple of words out of them because they were obviously trained not to trust strangers.
After about 15 minutes their father appeared and spotted them. He rushed to them, bent down and took them in his arms, as we watched from a distance.
Out of fear that the children would tell their father that people were following them, I went up to him and told him why we were trailing them. The little girl who had remained strong through the whole ordeal, now started to sob. The father, with tears running down his cheeks, thanked us for caring.
* * *
Both Patricia and I remained emotional the rest of that afternoon, reliving the anguish of the children and the father, and our own sense of helplessness and being upset that the world is this way.
We kept asking ourselves, What is a child to do in this situation?
When I was a child, we were taught to ask adults for help, certainly not to distrust them.
What has happened? How did we get here?
Art Hall, publisher
P.S.: I will post this column on the Herald’s Spout Off interactive Web site and would welcome any responses.
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