A few days ago in a post about our cultural taboo against correcting other people’s children, I wrote this:
“It’s not just that we live in a more dangerous world – the reality is that crime has dropped very dramatically in the last 20-30 years. Statistically speaking, we’re much safer today. However, what’s missing is any re-enforcement from others our children will meet as they move through the world of the sorts of good behavior and proper character development we’re teaching our kids. Instead of living in a world which helps us as we raise our kids, we must equip our kids to defend themselves against the world.”
I was speaking in particular of misbehaving children, but I think it also demonstrates that in those rare cases where our children might need help, adults would not feel it was their place to step in. A story on the Today Show demonstrates just how true this is. A security expert set up a mock kidnapping of a little girl to see if anyone would step in to help. This girl did just what we teach our children to do: fight and yell “help, this isn’t my dad!” Yet it took hours of repeating this scenario before several young men came forward to help. Watch the video of the story here (the link’s part way down the page) and ask yourself if you would stop to help. Children cannot raise themselves and they cannot properly defend themselves against the evils of the world. They need adults to step in when there is trouble and acts like the grown-ups. It’s very sad that we live in a world where a child faces not only potential dangers from those who would do her harm, but cannot even expect that other adults will see it as part of their responsibility to step in when she needs it.