Is it safe?
I love and hate Sundays; Sunday’s for me is the lazy day. The day to listen to music or simply flicking through channels. So, why do I hate Sunday’s, simple, tomorrow is Monday. My son decided to spend the morning with his grandmother and then meet a friend and go to the gym. It was a day of peace and tranquility.
At approximately 5.pm the phone rang and I knew it would be my son telling me he was leaving the gym and will be home soon. This was one of the rules; I always needed to know where he was at all times and he followed these rules religiously. As I picked up the phone and heard his voice my heart sank. He told me that he and is friend had been attacked by some teenage boys after leaving the gym and they had taken refuge in Papa Johns and had subsequently telephoned the police. I failed to process what had happened and made him repeat the story twice before I said ‘I’ll be there as quickly as I can, are you hurt?’ He replied ‘no’, but his friend had been punched in the face, which broke his glasses and in turn left a small cut by the side of his left eye. He proceeded to tell me that I need not pick him up; he would be fine getting home.
35 hours in labour and this child thought he was inconveniencing me!!! Seriously, people I do not run, Rani and running are never mentioned in the same sentence but I ran all the way and didn’t stop until I had him in my arms and the anger that built up inside of me dissipated as I held him in and cried. The relief to see my child was not physically hurt was overwhelming. I then cuddled and kissed his friend and felt so sorry what had happened. You could see the child had been crying and my heart went out to him.
I wrote this in a previous article on motherhood and want to remind you of my thoughts.
‘In a world that is so dangerous and full of evil, why do we choose to bring an innocent life into it? Look outside your window, do you see children playing on the street, the way we did? No, we are afraid to allow our children out of our sight. This constant fear and worry can bring us to our knees. You constantly worry about how good a mother you are, are you doing and saying the right things to your child. Are you raising them the correct way? Is there a right or wrong answer to these questions? I believe you raise your children for the world not for yourself. One day they will be out there on their own. However, what world are you raising them for? I bring up my child to be polite and considerate to others, we do not use any negative words, we do not swear, and then I hear some mothers telling their children to shut up or swearing at them on the street. Is this right? Who is right? My child is a tad over sensitive am I raising him correctly. I do not know. The other children that are spoken to in a way I would never speak to my child, will they be able to tackle the world better than mine. Will they grow up to be stronger than mine?’
What I wrote was true but have I raised my child to be a victim? He and his friend did the correct thing, they did not fight back, 5 against 2? Even I would run but I am so angry that I now feel that my parenting style is wrong. I question my abilities to be a good mother. Should I have raised my child to have a chip on his shoulder, to be foul mouthed and walk around letting everyone know he can’t be messed with? Is this the right style, for this world? Will this protect him? The sad fact, there is no right or wrong answer.
The government statistics show that youth crime is at its all-time low but crimes involving knife violence is on the increase. Do I believe this? Yes, especially when the young people do not report crimes against them. My son and his friend instantly called the police and I for one will not allow these children to get away with a caution, should they be caught. Your actions have consequences. It is time that we stop saying they are children. Did they see their actions as a childish prank? This was no prank, and this was a violent crime for no reason at all, were they simply bored?
Why should I bring up my child in a way that protects other people’s children but so many parents do not grant me the same courtesy. This child is mine and these children tried to hurt what is mine. There is nothing in this world more dangerous than a mother protecting her young and this is how I felt. The anger building inside of me was something I had never felt before. I think it was that feeling of being weak, that I was unable to protect my child.
If we bleed, do we not bleed the same colour? Are we not made the same way? Did god not make us in his image? The bible states
‘And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,
Iniquity in the bloodline traces back all the way to Adam’
So why was my child any less than them? Why was my child targeted? Was he simply in the wrong place at the wrong time? If we are all made from one seed and have one bloodline why would you attack your family?
If you as a parent bring your child up to hate, which leads to violence, then this style of upbringing will never change the world’s mentality. You should be ashamed!!!! Our experiences in life determines the way we think but if you instil those negative thoughts on your impressionable children, do you not think that you as a parent encouraging a pattern of behaviour. Where will it end? Be proud of who you are but be clever. Instil the importance of education and teach your children to keep their heads down and not to start trouble but should trouble find them be the ones to end it, end it yes, but not by way of violence, if this can be avoided. I am not blaming all parents for the conduct of their children but as parents, we need to take responsibility. Once those children become adults and we have instilled the meaning of right and wrong in them in childhood, then they have free will to adhere to those beliefs or not.
Gang mentality is a real issue and if it were one boy alone, would he have committed this crime? The chances are, no. The boys that did not participate are still culpable as the ones that did, they enticed the other to commit this offence. We live in a democratic society and democracy allows has certain freedoms. Did they not take my son’s democratic rights away from him? Part of that freedom allows has to go where we please and to do what we please within the confines of the law. My son and his friend simply went to the gym and then headed home. Their freedom had been violated by the few who chose ignorance and violence over intelligence.
The police officer felt that this was an attempted mugging. However, who really knows? The outcome could have been far worse and I thank god for watching over these boys.
“You boys that did this, why would you want to be arrested and go to prison over something that achieved nothing. Do you not think a criminal record will destroy your futures? You have a myopic view of the world and this needs to change. If you choose to be a criminal, be a clever one. Go to prison knowing it was for something intelligent and not for something so petty like violence. Do you feel bigger or stronger because you attacked two innocent children? Does this make you feel like men? I think not, it makes you mentally weak and unintelligent. Grow up!!!! Be all you can be and education is the key”
Part of me feels I should keep my child close and watch over him all day and every day? Restricting his freedom to explore the world or at the very least, explore the towns around us without me, his mother watching his every move. Should I cover him in bubble wrap, to ensure he is never hurt? This would make me more comfortable but what would it do to him? What would happen to him when I am gone? I guess we need to trust that we are raising them to tackle all that life throws at them, the good, the bad and the ugly.
I decided that my child was not going to be a victim. I encouraged him to continue life as normal. I made him attend school the next day. I had not used the find a friend app in so long but yes, I used it Monday morning and followed his every move. If I found him standing in one place too long, I was straight on the phone ‘why haven’t you moved, what is happening?’ I was being that over protective mother again and honestly I hated it. I trusted my child but I didn’t trust anyone else’s children
The truth, I don’t know why this happened? All I know, I have to now tread carefully and ensure that my child does not feel afraid to leave the house. I have tried to instil independence and confidence in him and this one incident could change him and not for the better. He may decide not to be so polite, amenable, caring and sensitive to the needs of others; he may decide to be the one that is feared. As much as I feel I may not have raised him well enough to tackle the evils outside our front door, I do not want him to turn out like these children.
I want my child to have a future and not a future in prison. I want people to look at him and say what a wonderful child, teenager and eventually what a wonderful adult. Do you not want the same for your children?