Readers: It’s not like I advocate, “Take our 2-year-olds to the park and leave them there.” But why is this story national news? A day care center took its kids to a park that is a 10 minute walk away. On the way back the workers realized they’d left a 2-year-old behind. They went and got him. Meantime, neighbors heard the boy crying and came and took care of him, which is exactly what you’d hope would happen — and a lot more normal than neighbors coming and killing him for the heck of it.
So why is this non-event news? It’s not presented as a happy story, or even a, “Stuff happens,” story. It’s presented as an, “Oh my God!” story. In other words: It is only newsworthy if we imagine that in just a few minutes, “anything” could have happened to the kid, instead of what DID happen: A dumb but non-fatal mistake was quickly rectified, and community was kind to a kid.
Not to flog a dead horse, but it also plays into the idea that any mistake of any kind when it comes to caring for kids is absolutely unheard of, and that we must expect utter PERFECTION on the part of anyone looking after children, be it day care workers, teachers or parents. One slip and we are shocked.
Yes, it IS pretty shocking to forget a kid at the park. But can we please get back to not obsessing about every little adverse thing that ever happens in the course of childrearing? It’s driving us nuts. — Lenore