I’m currently involved in a back-and-forth commentary in our local newspaper with some other readers regarding a story depicting a mother who has been arrested for leaving her children alone for 3 hours while she visited a neighbor. Read a quick story here, if you want, but I’ll lay out the facts for you:
– Kids were 7, 6 and 6 months
– A pot with chicken was cooking on the stove the whole time
– Mother put in jail, being investigated for child abandonment (would be CRIMINAL charges)
– Kids to CPS and foster care
I think based on what we know (hopefully there is more to the story), this little event should not sit well with the public. Yes, leaving children that young is irresponsible and needs to be addressed if it happens on more than one occasion. But a government entity identifying this situation in the span of 3 hours – and imprisoning someone for it – should not be taken lightly. This is totalitarian stuff. Think KGB, Gestapo, Frumentarii, Norsefire kind of stuff.
Aside from that, I personally harbor the notion that our society spends too much time majoring in the minors…especially when it comes to raising kids. They can barely go outside anymore. Everything kids touch is padded, rounded, rubberized, sterilized, foamed, disclaimered and softened. I grew up without helmets, seat belts, multi-vitamins, car seats or hand sanitizers. I rode in the back of pickups, stuck my fingers in light-sockets, ate with my hands and rarely washed them, drank out of streams, ate uncooked cookie dough and burnt leaves with a lighter (o.k., my Dad didn’t know about that one).
Profoundly, irrationally, miraculously I survived. So did these kids. Now they have no mom and are probably separated from each other.
But, hey, maybe it’s me who is out-of-touch with real middle-America, right? We Americans like to think of ourselves as safe. Really safe, even. Never mind that the U.S. is one of the most violent societies in the history of history. Never mind that living in America is more dangerous than living in almost every other country in the world, including nearly all of the 3rd world. Did you know it is safer to live in Israel, even with their conflicts with Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq and Iran than it is to live in the U.S.? Do you know how many kids wear bike helmets in Israel? (read: barely any) Disclaimers on 5 gallon buckets and hyper-shredded rubber playground mats fail to address the bigger dangers in our society, and they don’t make us truly safer; neither does throwing parents in jail for poor judgment.
After a little research and tinkering, I’m proud to say I’ve developed the first ever child veal crate, available exclusively here at SW101. Basically, you put your kid (no pun intended) in there, close the gate, feed them daily and don’t open it until you’re legally-obligated to free them somewhere near their 18th birthday. Just imagine your child where that cow is in the picture to the left. I promise you a soft, perfectly-living, completely safe once-child. If you’re interested in your very own child veal crate, let me know and I’ll put you on the waiting list – demand is already outstripping supply. I’m working on a side-by-side model too, if you intend to sprinkle a little highly-regulated social contact into the mix.