Readers — Here’s a letter from a 22-year-old paramedic in Queensland, Australia, where folks, too, seem to suffer from the modern-day problem I call “Worst-first thinking.” What I mean is: When an adult and a child interact, onlookers often assume the worst, first. Like so — Lenore
Dear Free-Range Kids:Â So, it was a training day the other day.Â Â For lunch we decide to meet at the local park.Â Picture this: a dozen paramedics, six ambulances, a few assessors all sitting around a park enjoying our lunch.
A mother comes up with two small children.
A crew (one male, one female) shows the children through their ambulance and puts on the lights for them (note: small children + flashing lights = much joy).
The male paramedic comes back and jokes how if he wasn’t in uniform he would have been lynched for showing children through his ambulance.Â And then an interesting conversation begins amongst the males of our group.
The uniform vs. no uniform.
How when they are in uniform the males are allowed to talk to children.
But when they are in civilian clothing they do that only at their own risk.
How when children in the back seat of a car wave at the ambulance we wave back.
How when we are in our own car we do, too.
But, God help you if you’re male and the parents catch you waving at their kids.
As one male paramedic summed it up: “You have to wave for long enough to make the kids smile. But short enough so that the parent’s don’t come chasing after you screaming PAEDOPHILE!”
But what happens when the risk outweighs the joy in seeing a child smile? — Baby Paramedic