In the news we hear about the people who think it's okay to leave their young child in the car alone while they run into the store, post office, etc. Typically one of three things happens: the car is stolen with the child in it, someone takes the child, or the child finds a way to get out and the mother drives off leaving the child behind unknowingly. What is wrong with these people? Sometimes drugs or alcohol are involved, but many times it's just a seemingly normal mom who thought it would be quicker to run into the store without the child.
Friday evening our family was in Sears Essentials and a little girl of around 4 or 5 years old was skipping and running up and down the toy isles. What caught my attention was the fact that she was barefoot and completely ALONE. Not an adult in sight anywhere. I kept my eye on her for a while thinking her mom or dad would come from the next isle over any minute, but no one ever came looking for her. The young girl just looked at a few toys here and there then ran to the next isle. At one point she even ran around a few isles in the electronics department which was right beside the toys, then apparently realizing there were no toys over there she ran and skipped back to the toy department. A good 7-8 minutes had gone by at this point with no adult supervision of this child. We were ready to leave the toy section so I let one of the sales associates know about the young girl by herself. As soon as we turned to walk off the mother of the girl came walking over from another part of the store. I overheard her tell the sales associate she had been keeping an eye on the little girl. Yeah right! I had looked around many times hoping to find a parent watching her from a distance and saw no one. The way the girl was running back and forth from one isle to the next there was no way anyone could have kept track of where she was without being right there. I just shook my head and went on with our shopping. A while later we walked near the toy section again and I noticed the same little barefoot girl was back, skipping up and down the isles by herself. I don't think her mother had a clue in the world that leaving her young daughter alone like that was a danger.
Common sense is partially instinct, but the larger portion of common sense is learned. This means people need to be taught by their parents, grand parents, teachers and other mentors things like:
- You cannot leave young children unattended ANYWHERE (car, home, front yard, etc.)
- You cannot let an elementary age child play games on the internet without some supervision to make sure they are playing what they’re supposed to be playing and haven’t accidentally clicked to something that is not child friendly.
- Children should not walk around in public areas barefoot (neither should adults for that manner). The floors in stores aren’t THAT clean, not to mention who lets their child walk barefoot through a parking lot to and from the car? Broken glass, sharp rocks and hot pavement are the first dangers that come to my mind though I’m sure there are others.
- Put all trash in a trash can, don’t throw it out the window of your car or leave it in the parking lot. Adults who litter are teaching their children to litter. Children learn more by seeing and observing than they do by listening.