THOUGHTS OF A FRUITCAKE: By Carolyn Aldis
So, the news this week contained 2 stories about children ending up in dangerous situations, whilst in the care of their parents. The bizarre story of the little boy in Japan, left by the side of the road as a punishment for throwing stones at people, by his parents who drove off for a few minutes; when they came back, he had disappeared. The other story was the 3 year old boy who climbed into a gorilla enclosure, which led to it being shot.
I found the first story hard to believe, not because he was found alive after 6 days, but due to other factors...that his parents made him get out of their car...that they chose to leave him on a dirt track road, surrounded by woodland, known to be inhabited by bears...and that they drove away, leaving him alone.
I’ve tried to see the situation from their point of view and can only assume that there was a lot of anger being released in that car, perhaps the boy was learning the art of answering back and maybe his father didn’t appreciate the disrespect and thought it would be good to teach him a lesson, but what was it meant to teach? How to survive abandonment? That little lad went for miles in the wrong direction because he was crying so much...it’s like a modern day Grimms fairytale.
Imagine the horror those parents felt when they got back to the spot and he was gone, the initial lies about him getting lost and then the inevitable truth coming out...it’s a parent’s worst nightmare...for your child to be in a dangerous situa-tion while the rest of the world judges your actions.
The mother of the 3 year old who climbed into the gorilla enclosure came under criticism for leaving her child unattended long enough to climb in and initially, I thought some of it was justified...we are all quick to judge, a sense of “That would never happen to me”. But having looked at the fence at this zoo, it doesn’t look that high. Admittedly there is a 15 foot drop the other side, but a small child wouldn’t know that. There was much anger poured out towards this mother, how her perceived “negligence” caused the death of an endangered species; many shared their expertise on gorilla behaviour:
“He was trying to protect the child.”
“They should have tranquillized the gorilla...”
And then, when it collapsed on top of the child, killing him, we would have all said, “Why didn’t they just shoot it?” Sometimes snap decisions need to be made and if that was my child being “protected” by the gorilla, I know what I would want.
It’s a parent’s worst nightmare...for your child to be in a dangerous situation while the rest of the world judges your actions.
These stories are similar in that the parents didn’t set out that day for their children to end up in such terrifying scenarios.
The difference between them is that one set of parents deliberately left their child alone, whereas the other made a mistake.