It Is 10pm. Do You Know Where Your Children Are?
After the brutal murder of eight-year-old Leiby, many of us moms have battled with the message to share with our kids. We want to caution them without freaking them out. There will always be psychopaths and, while we want to wrap our kids in bubble wrap, we also know that protecting them can go only so far. We really struggled with the message for our nine-year-old.
In New York, we would NEVER consider letting him cross the road to catch the school bus. Yet in Israel things are different. You see six-year-old religious kids taking younger siblings to school. Certainly, my friends kids of the same age wait for the bus on their own. So we decided Meron could go to and from the bus on his own. There are no roads to cross, and our apartment is a one-minute walk from the corner. Like Leiby, this is something he wanted and really begged for..
So last week he went to the bus at 8:30 a.m. I told him I would be at a meeting in a building in the area, somewhere he is familiar with. At 9:15, the bus had not arrived and an American man asked if he needed help crossing the road. Meron explained he was waiting for the camp bus which was now 45 minutes late. The helpful gentleman asked where he was staying and when Meron mentioned the street and building number, the man said he too lives in that building and said, “I guess you are renting the Magady apartment.” He told Meron he was driving past the camp and he would be happy to give him a ride. When Meron related this story, he said “Imma, even though he lives in our building I decided I could not go in his car.” He then asked the gentleman to help him cross the road so he could walk to find me. The man insisted on walking him to the lobby.
When I share this story in Israel people give mixed reactions. Americans unanimously consent he should not have accepted a ride but Israeli’s say that people are good and you cannot hide from one psychopath.
Metroimmas, what do you think? Would you think it’s ok for your child to accept a car ride from a stranger if he/she was someone from your community who claims their know your family, school or neighborhood? What criteria would you ask your child to look for in deciding whether or not to go with someone? How are you preparing your child for these situations?
Please share your experiences. We need to do everything in our power to keep our children safe and we can all learn so much from each other.It’s 10 p.m. Do you know where your children are?
Originally published: July 12, 2011