On Sunday morning, I emerged from the grocery store and began walking towards my bright, shiny, still new Corvette. A mom in her SUV had parked next to me and her two young boys, barely of walking age, were standing, staring, and pointing at my car. One of them walked towards it with his index finger stretched out as though he was going to touch the hood. Mom yelled at him to stop and he did, all as I was still a good 30 feet away.
As I approached, I smiled at her and she said “is that your beautiful car?” and I responded in the affirmative. She said “don’t worry he didn’t touch it,” to which I laughed and told her that it happens all of the time to kids of all ages. People are entranced with that damn car. She laughed and went inside as her two boys stared at me with wonderment as I climbed in and started the roaring engine. One of them jumped with joy when I revved it as I pulled out of the parking lot. It’s amazing how, even at ages younger than 5, we often revert to stereotypes. I often wonder why it is that boys too young to understand what the object of their affection even does are so taken with sports cars, bulldozers, and power tools. Perhaps there is a power and meaning far beyond our understanding that is laying the groundwork for this dopey world? Perhaps?
Either way, that’s what I call a cute story. Talk about true innocence, there it was personified. And by the way, had the kid touched my car it still would have been cute. You have to be an asshole of monumental proportions to take away a child’s wonderment, and I pledged long ago to never be that person. I also decided early on in life to not take things so seriously. Whoopty-do…a child’s finger print is on my 6 figure sports car…what ever will I do? I’ll wash it, that’s what.
And then there’s this…
As reported by multiple news outlets:
A 3-year-old boy in Florida headed out on the highway, looking for adventure, in a motorized toy car, narrowly avoiding traffic, ABC News reports. A grownup motorist called 911 after seeing the toddler—clad in a T-shirt and diaper—attempting to merge onto US Highway 19. A number of drivers stopped to help the boy, reports WFLA. “I was shocked,” one witness says. “Could have ended a lot differently if not for the people who stopped.”
Police arrived to find that drivers had used their cars to make a protective “blockade” around the boy, who was sitting in his own, much smaller car in the highway’s median…the boy’s father arrived about 10 minutes later. He says he was using the bathroom when his son managed to unlock the front door and escape. The boy drove two blocks from their home to the highway, cutting through backyards to avoid detection. The boy’s father had been riding his bike around the neighborhood looking for his son. Florida’s Department of Children and Families is investigating. http://www.newser.com/story/218725/toddler-drives-toy-car-onto-florida-highway.html
Oh my God, that is so cute, isn’t it? That’s the response of social media and the majority slant of most of the reporting. I mean, after all, the kid didn’t get hurt, so we should make it a cute story, shouldn’t we? NO, WE SHOULDN’T!
In a country that demands parents be put in jail who allow their kids to walk alone to and from parks 1 mile away from their home, it is appallingly inconceivable to me that we applaud and “cutify” stories like this. This child was in actual, imminent danger…children who walk alone in their neighborhoods are not; and yet the parents of the latter are publicly shamed while the parent of the former is being given a pass and age old clichés like “boys will be boys,” and “kids…what are you gonna do?”
This represents a shift in American culture that is bad for all of us. The script has been that when kids actually die, we revert to the age old “the parents have suffered enough,” cliché and demand that they not be held accountable. Conversely, when kids escape danger while simply being kids, we usually impugn the parents to no end and demand CPS investigations and such. Lately, more and more stories have emerged showing that our level of compassion is growing, and that’s a bad thing. Parents such as this dad don’t need compassion, they need a wake-up call. I don’t believe that such a message should be delivered by the government, but I am certain that it must be screamed loudly by society…and yet we are the three dumb monkeys; deaf, blind and mute. Our culture of zero judgments is catching up to us exactly as many of us predicted it would…and eventually, it will be the end of us.