Last week I was out to dinner with one of my closest girlfriends. Every few weeks we meet up for a child-free dinner so that we can talk about our lives, listen to and support each other.
Frantic, distraught and upset
She is one of the most important people in my life. We are both parents to four girls, and we have a lot in common with the way that we approach raising our daughters. We take it in turns shouting the meal, and this week, it was my turn. Our burgers and drinks arrived, and we enjoyed our dinner while catching up with one another.
Shortly after we finished our meal, we became distracted by a mother with a small child on her hip, she was screaming out the names, presumably of her children who were not in sight. She looked frantic, distraught and upset.
Read more about parenting:
- There’s a new parenting ‘type’ and I so wanna be her!
- The hardest part of parenting is letting my little ones fail
- 10 parenting moments no one warns you about before you have kids
We raced to help the woman. We asked her what happened and how could we help. She explained that her children were leaving the toilets with her but had gotten confused about where they were going. She assumed they were behind her – but they weren’t. She couldn’t find them anywhere, and it had been about ten minutes now … ten minutes equals panic station. They were only five and seven years old, and it was 7 o’clock at night – so it was dark, and they were alone.
My friend and I raced around the busy shopping precinct trying to find them, shouting their names, loudly, over and over again. As my friend went off in one direction to check the car park and alert security, I stayed with the mother and kept searching.
There was no sign of the children. With a lump in my throat, I grabbed my phone and was on the line to the police when finally – we found them. They were scared and looked traumatised, but they had done the right thing and gone into a cafe and told the shop owner they had lost their mother. With open arms, the mother brought them close to her, sobbing but happy she had found her babies. The children cried with relief at being back with their mother.
It took me the rest of the evening to recover from the experience, but one thing stuck out like a loud alarm bell.
No one helped
While running around searching for these small children alongside the mother, I noticed that no one else was helping. Everyone watched on, everyone heard us. It was impossible not to hear us. But no one offered to help.
Not one single person offered to look, offered to search, offered any type of support at all.
All I can think is, what the hell is the world coming to?
We all belong to someone. We all have a family, and we all come from somewhere.
How did we get to a point in our society where no one offers to help a mother who is screaming out the names of her babies because they are lost?
The fact of the matter is, it doesn’t even take being a parent, to give a shit. You don’t have to be a parent to care about someone else’s children, or someone else’s wellbeing. You simply have to be human, with empathy and feelings. If someone is suffering, if someone is in trouble, if someone needs help and is asking for it – we all have the moral obligation to just. do. something.
If the coin had been flipped, I know for certain we would implore the help of anyone nearby to support us.
Let us not be complicit in the struggle of others, because we may be scared or feel unsure about how to help. Just help, be there for them and offer your support. Because being kind costs nothing.