If you were driving down the street, and you saw a man talking to a child that was passing by, what would you think? You would probably be suspicious. You would probably think that the child is in some sort of danger. Don’t worry, I would say that 75% or more of people that are asked the same question would feel the same way. Don’t get me wrong, I get nervous when someone that I don’t know is talking to my children. I have been taught to expect the worst from people. You see it everyday on the news.
There is a problem with this. It makes people nervous to get involved and to help keep children safe from potential danger. I had a situation today that made me very uncomfortable. A child from the neighborhood that my family lives in had missed the bus. I know because my son had missed the same bus. I took my son to school after my daughter caught her bus to school. As I turned back into the complex, I noticed that the little boy was still waiting at the stop. I looked around and pulled over just a little. I rolled down my window and told him that he had missed the ride already. I then asked him if his mother was at home. He said, “No, she’s already gone to work.” I asked him if he would like to use my phone to call her. He said,”You can just give me a ride to school because it would be quicker.” I have never met this child and I sure didn’t know his parents so I said NO!! I told him that his mom would be pretty upset if I took him anywhere. He told me that he had a phone to call her and that he had a key to get back into the house. I gave him my number for his mother and told him that if I could help have her call and then I sent him back up to his house to call his mother. As I drove away from him, I couldn’t help looking around to see if anyone was watching. Why?
When my son came in from school, I asked about the boy and he said that he was on the bus this afternoon. Good, it all worked out. I have also asked my son to talk to him tomorrow because, now, I feel like I have to let the parents know that I was no threat. I need to assure them that I was there to help and show them that I have kids of my own the same age. This seems like a lot of work just to make sure that a child is okay. I won’t rest until I meet them and get closure.
If my wife had done all of this, it wouldn’t have been a big deal because she is a mother. Mother’s are viewed as safe unless you try to hurt their baby and then it’s on!! I’m okay with that but dad’s are just as safe as mothers and can protect a child just the same. We have this fear of men with children. A dad taking his child to the park has to worry about what people think. I took my 9 year old daughter to lunch and a movie and received questioning looks. A dad changing his baby in public receives the same looks. I’m not going to even dive into what some of my friends that are gay fathers have to deal with. It has to change.
If you were driving down the street, and you saw a woman talking to a child that was passing by, what would you think? Nothing!