It’s Not Judgment, It’s a Wake-up Call

Watch your children! Kids move quick. Especially these little tiny ninjas we call toddlers. That’s why you have to keep your eyes on them at all times. You can’t have you face in your phone while they are wandering around. I can’t imagine that it took a quick second for that child to climb into that zoo’s enclosure. He had to have at least had to climb up some kind of fencing or railing to get down to where he was in the gorillas enclosure. That means a parent had to have lost sight of their very young child for more than just a split second. That’s not okay. In the day and age of kidnappers, sex traffickers, and child predators it is never okay to not be watching your child, let alone not watching them in a potentially dangerous environment.

Yes, I’m grateful that the child’s life was saved. Of course. I’m also saddened that a beautiful animal had to lose his when he was only doing what was in his nature (and watching the video – it looks like he was trying to protect the child and just got scared when everyone started screaming).

It’s not just the zoo incident. It’s the fact that as parents we HAVE to be hypervigilent at all times. It takes a nanosecond for someone with ill-intentions to take your child. One child or twelve you have to be aware of where they are, who is around you, and your surroundings at all times. Yes, accidents happen. I’m not naive. Madeline has had her fair share of bumps and bruises. But I would never let her out of my sight in a public place, especially in one as crowed as a zoo. Not for a fraction of a second. Call me a santimom all you want. I call it being aware that not everyone in this world has good intentions, especially when it comes to a pretty little girl.

I’ve read several eye witness accounts. They all have mentioned that the child was talking about wanting to go into the exhibit and into the water. That should have been when she moved him away from that situation. Hindsight is 20/20. Mistakes happen. Accidents happen. It’s a sad situation all around. It’s just personally one that I feel could have been prevented.

Again I will say that I am extremely glad that the little boy is alive (do you really think I would want another parent to have to grieve the loss of their child? – Goodness, if you all would think that you must not know me at all.). I can also be sad that an endangered animal lost his life. That doesn’t make me a terrible person. That just means I have compassion for people AND animals too.

He climbed under a railing, through wires, and over a moat wall. The enclosures are built to keep animals in not necessarily people out. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on every one.

To me it’s not really about the zoo. It’s about the fact that the world is full of crazy people. Do you know how often we’ve been at the park or somewhere and a young kid has been there all alone, no parent anywhere near? I don’t get it. It just takes a split second for a child to disappear.

We often hear people talk about how we should teach children to take responsibility for their actions, and yet when it comes to a parent who makes a tragic error in judgment people are always so quick to defend with “give them grace.” I’m all for giving people grace (you all should know that, I speak it and give it often), but at some point we have to also say that adults, parents, have to be held responsible and accountable for their actions.

When you have a child, you are responsible for their safety and wellbeing. Not a zoo, not random bystanders, not anyone but you. I’m not sure why this is a crazy notion.

The reason people are so fired up about this story is because thousand upon thousands of children visit the zoo each year and this doesn’t happen. This isn’t losing your kid for a second in a clothing rack at Target, this is allowing your child to climb into an enclosure with a dangerous animal.

I’ve never said crucify her. I’ve never said save the gorilla over the child. I’ve merely said we should all watch our children closely. Just last week I read an article about a woman who was sharing the story of how she thought her two year old had nearly been a victim of a sex trafficking scam. We can’t turn our backs on our kids. Not at the zoo. Not at the grocery store. Not in our front yards. Frankly, it’s sad. Michelle Gregg is lucky. Her son is safe and relatively unharmed (though I’m a little concerned about the psychological trauma of everything he witnessed and having a gorilla shot while standing over him…). Learn from her mistake don’t defend her for it.

Also, when did it become a bad thing to have an opinion? Why are we so afraid to say what we think or feel, because lord forbid we offend someone today. It really is possible for us all to have different feelings and opinions and still get along. We are adults. We don’t have to have to all think the same. You don’t have to agree with me. You also don’t have to comment on my posts on my Facebook page. It’s my right to have my personal opinion and it’s my right to stand by it.

Frankly, saying that parents should keep a close watch on their kids should be common sense not something that people get offended about. Then again, people get offended over car seat safety too, so… I give up. Don’t watch your kids, put your toddlers in backless boosters, and give them all soda and bags of pure sugar for dinner. What do I care. Not my kid. Not my issue. OR maybe I say what I say, because I actually do care about each of you and your little ones. Maybe when I say watch your kids close, it’s because it would absolutely break my heart if I read this story about your child. Sometimes you forget that I’ve buried a son. I would NEVER want any of you to have to face that reality. It’s horrific. It’s an unimaginable nightmare that makes me hyper aware of the dangers of this world. Kids are fast. Madeline is a runner. She is also tiny and could easily fit under and through most of the barriers that are meant to keep her out. That’s why we watch her like a hawk. You don’t blink around this girl, and we know that. I’m not sure why it’s such a negative thing to say I watch my child. I know you all do too. We all should take this mom’s unfortunate mistake as an example of why we need to watch a little closer. That’s all. Peace. I love you all. I’m done.

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