Parents Leave 12 y.o. Behind After Festival for THREE Days! Why Didn’t Anyone Call 911?


Merry Christmas to everyone who’s celebrating, and a Happy New Year to all! I appreciate the Bible passage that a commenter sent here, below. It reminds us that throughout history, parents have lost track of their kids from time to time. What’s more, often a child only discovers his true interest — even his calling — when left to his own devices. (Or hers, of course.) (Or His.)

Meantime, special wishes to Maria anhrsyidsk
, who is still facing criminal charges for sleeping through a morning that her son got himself ready for school and started walking there on his own. Let’s dedicate ourselves to protecting all the imperfect but still perfectly fine parents out there, and all the kids who deserve some free, unsupervised time to explore this glorious world.

This is from the King James Bible, Luke 2:41-52:

[41] Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.
[42] And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.
[43] And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.
[44] But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.
[45] And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.
[46] And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.
[47] And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.
[48] And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.
[49] And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?
[50] And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.
[51] And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.
[52] And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

Peace on Earth! (Which, by the way, were the only words on a sign a Free-Range reader put on her desk the other day. She was told she had to take it down, because “it might offend someone.” I interviewed the reader by phone, but because she feared for her job, she didn’t want to go public.) — L.


Why it's great that Jesus lived before anyone could call 911 and report his parents to CPS.

How fortunate that Jesus lived before anyone could call 911 to report His parents to CPS.


27 Responses to Parents Leave 12 y.o. Behind After Festival for THREE Days! Why Didn’t Anyone Call 911?

  1. Gina December 24, 2015 at 11:38 am #

    OK…THAT is the problem in this country. NOT separation of church/state. “Peace” is offensive? We are doomed unless we wake up…

  2. Molly December 24, 2015 at 11:38 am #

    This is great!

  3. danyzn December 24, 2015 at 12:03 pm #

    This just show how dangerously irreponsible it is to leave a child unsupervised! How can you be sure he won’t go off and found a new religion and get crucified? How would you live with yourself then?

  4. Chef Sun December 24, 2015 at 12:16 pm #

    I find if hard to believe that a Jewish mother who thinks of her son as a god would leave the kid behind for three days.

  5. Brian December 24, 2015 at 12:38 pm #


  6. Mark Davis December 24, 2015 at 12:53 pm #

    Goddammit, I’m an atheist and I want peace on earth. How could that possibly be offensive to anyone?

  7. Backroads December 24, 2015 at 1:01 pm #

    Chef Sun, I just snorted orange juice laughing.

    In all seriousness, the standard seemed to be to assume your kid was probably around instead of jumping to early conclusions.

  8. Reziac December 24, 2015 at 1:15 pm #

    Imagine how things would have turned out if Mary had helicoptered her little prodigy instead of allowing him to be free range….

  9. Catherine Caldwell-Harris December 24, 2015 at 1:22 pm #

    Chef Sun and Danzyn — clever and funny!

  10. Jessica December 24, 2015 at 1:39 pm #

    Wouldn’t it be more like five days, since they were a day out when they realized he wasn’t with the group, which means a day back and then three days to find him?

  11. Steve December 24, 2015 at 1:46 pm #

    Thanks for posting this, Lenore.

    This is The Classic Free Range Kids Story

    Re: the Peace on earth thing.

    I’m sure we all wonder why it’s “just fine” to allow things to be said or done that are most likely to offend the majority, but protect the few people who are always going to “choose to feel offended” no matter what is said or done.

  12. Donald December 24, 2015 at 3:51 pm #

    Taking down a sign that says “Peace on Earth” because it may offend is not necessarily a bad thing. Ok, so it’s ludicrous. However that can actually be good. (perhaps I’m just weird)

    I like watching the bureaucracy hang itself. This is similar to the Maryland CPS that tried to teach the Meitivs a lesson. This backfire made international news. The Peace on Earth sign removal is an incredibly obvious indication that things have gone too far. It won’t make international news. However. people have been getting tired of political correctness going mad for a long time and this is evidence of the breaking point.

    Maybe I’m just clutching at straws. This won’t be the first time I’m accused of being a hopeless optimist. I just seek out evidence of change when I can.

    If you focus on results you will never change. If you focus on change you will see results.
    Jack Dixon

  13. Mike December 24, 2015 at 4:06 pm #

    I count five days, not 3. v44: One day travel, oops no Jesus. v45, another day to get back to Jerusalem. v46, they found him after searching for three more days.

    But still quite a good point! A 12-year-old, “abandoned” by his parents for almost a week, goes on to become the god of a large portion of humanity. His “negligent” mother is declared as being without original sin, and his father is considered a very good man.

    And all because he was on his own for five days! Thanks Lenore, this is just too rich.

  14. That_Susan December 24, 2015 at 4:06 pm #

    Beautiful! — and I second the special wishes to Maria Hasankolli — our very own modern Mary!

  15. Dee December 24, 2015 at 5:20 pm #


    You’ve probably mentioned this article before, but it popped up in my sphere this week:

    Lots to love about this article, especially the stats.

  16. BL December 24, 2015 at 8:11 pm #

    “Peace on Earth! (Which, by the way, were the only words on a sign a Free-Range reader put on her desk the other day. She was told she had to take it down, because “it might offend someone.””

    So change it to “War on Earth”.

    That won’t offend anyone, right?

    (rolls eyes)

  17. lollipoplover December 25, 2015 at 12:59 am #

    Not only losing track of children, but this tradition of letting a strange man access to our homes and young children late at night! We bring them to malls to sit on his lap and disclose personal details in hopes of being rewarded. We sit on a throne of lies.

    Merry Christmas!!

  18. tdr December 25, 2015 at 6:43 am #

    Chef Sun, the comment of the year!!

  19. John December 25, 2015 at 11:18 am #


    “So change it to ‘War on Earth’,

    LOL……now that’s a good one BL!!! Very clever response to the typical PC lunacy America is dealing with today. In fact I’m gonna designate it the quote of the year! 😉

  20. Abigail December 25, 2015 at 9:47 pm #

    Every helicopter parent should be concerned about feeding into a paternalistic system which is designed to create unquestioning sheep. You want a shepherd? A leader? Let them out into the world… who knows, they might learn something. They might even change the world. You don’t have to believe in God or a god to see why Jesus would be a man worth seeking.

    This Christmas, I will seek her example. Mary, the first documented free-range mama.

    Hey, Peace on Earth.

  21. BMS December 26, 2015 at 12:12 pm #

    I have an office in a suite. The suite is decorated to the hilt for Christmas – tree, lights and everything. I like it, being a Christmas celebrater myself. However, I am also mindful of all my Jewish, Muslim, and indifferent students of various cultures. So my office door is decorated with an artistic assemblage of ‘Peace’ written in as many languages as I could find. I’ve gotten no end of compliments, and a lot of attention as my international students try to find ‘their’ language. Nothing could be more awesome.

    Merry Everything to Everyone!

  22. Caleb Shaw December 28, 2015 at 8:52 am #

    Some of the most inspiring stories are not those of people whose lives are bubble-wrapped, but those of people dealt a bad hand, who have every reason to despair or quit, but who instead find it in themselves to sing and rejoice. The story behind Longfellow’s “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day” is just such a tale of light within darkness.

  23. Sue Luttner December 28, 2015 at 4:23 pm #

    Lovely posting, followed by clever responses. What a first-rate blog and blog community.

    Here’s to peace and clear thinking both, which I’m guessing might go together.

  24. Becks December 29, 2015 at 6:20 pm #

    But things were different back then!


  25. JS December 30, 2015 at 6:37 pm #

    Hi all, that was me with the Peace sign. After some push back I was allowed to keep it. Although after reading these wonderfully hysterical comments I am going to put up a “war on Earth” sign after vacation to see what happens. Thank you Lenore for mentioning it!

  26. Michele January 1, 2016 at 12:00 pm #

    Agreed, Gina. Doomed unless we wake up.

  27. Papilio January 3, 2016 at 11:34 am #

    @JS: Or – old protesters’ trick – change it to something like ‘piece of earth’. Technically it’s nonsense, but the message is perfectly clear…