Wednesday was a holiday here in Hawaii. Having a friend visiting from the mainland we struck out for day of sun and fun on West side of the Island.
As we pulled into a parking spot at the beach, we noticed a naked two year old girl wondering around the edge of the parking lot. A large family was camped nearby, but they seemed unaware that that the girl was wandering a little too far away. The sun was out and the pavement was hot, so we kept an eye on the little girl as we unloaded the car.
Predictably, the girl began to cry and call out to her mother. It was windy and loud and the family seemed distracted by the other children. My wife went over to the little girl and asked if she was okay. The girl said she wanted her mother. My wife then asked the girl if she wanted to be carried and the girl’s arms shot up. My wife picked up the girl and walked over to the family and children. They took the child and said that the girl’s mother was down by the water.
Certainly this was a moment of parental oversight and/or poor judgment. Parenting is difficult. Ideally, we, as community members, should think of ourselves as a sort of parenting safety net. We should be that extra pair of eyes or that extra helping hand when parents and their children need little bit of help. After all, in some sense, all children are our responsibility. Children will shape the future. If we want a healthy and a safe society then we must work together to ensure that today’s children are raised in safe and nurturing environments. We, personally, need to be willing to go that extra mile for the benefit of families and children.
Often the extra mile is nothing more than a kind word, a willingness to listen, or taking the time to help a child in distress.
Paul Normann, Executive Director