I have noticed that I can seldom check out the news online these days without seeing a current story about missing children. This morning, the disappearance of cousins, one 8 and one 10, in Iowa was the most recent glaring headline. The girls were last seen bicycling in the downtown area of Evandale around midday on Friday and their bikes and a bag they were carrying were later found by police in a wooded area near a lake. The search is continuing today with hundreds of volunteers dragging the lake and fanning out across the area in
I know that it is impossible for anyone to keep an eye on every child all day, each and every day. That is where it becomes the responsibility of the adults to take the time to talk to the children and to set some boundaries and to enforce those rules.
I must say that I was really shocked by this story. These two girls are 8 and 10 years of age and were out and about with no supervision. I can’t imagine why someone thought it was okay to allow these girls to leave their sight under any circumstances. If they are not old enough to leave them alone at home, and they certainly aren’t old enough for that, how is it that they should be out anywhere unsupervised?
I understand that parents and guardians and others who are entrusted with the care of children are busy and have other things to do. I understand that kids can get bored and want to do other things than remain in the house all day, every day. However, I do not understand that the adult in charge would find that anything or anyone is more important than the care and supervision of the children. I know that it is impossible for anyone to keep an eye on every child all day, each and every day. That is where it becomes the responsibility of the adults to take the time to talk to the children and to set some boundaries and to enforce those rules. Children need to be made aware of the reasons that the rules are beidng made and enforced so that they will take that extra moment to perhaps stop themselves from engaging in behavior that may potentially be dangerous to them. And if they choose to ignore the rules, another discussion needs to take place regarding the needs for those rules and then an age-appropriate consequence for their bad behavior needs to be enforced.
No one wants to punish a child but no one wants to ever have to go through the agony of having a child end up missing. You may think that it is okay this one time to allow the kids to play unsupervised nearby but it only takes that one moment of inattentiveness to have a child taken away. You may think that leaving your child in a locked car while you take a couple of minutes to run into the store or back into your home to do something is just fine but what might happen if you are delayed or otherwise distracted before you are able to return?
There is nothing of more importance than to have the life of another entrusted to you. In the case of children, they are not physically or mentally able or prepared to take care of themselves in many situations. There is a need to be ever present for them and this must remain the focus. Of course, you will always need to do other things but that does not mean that you can’t keep the children in sight if you are inside of your home or to keep them at your side regardless of where you are when you are outside. There is nothing that can compare with the peace of mind that you have when you know that the children are just fine. And the reward will be when your children are grown and raising children of their own and they know how to love and protect their children because you had taught them by example when they were children.
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