Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Medieval Vigilance

I got on the net today to read some news, after a few months of not doing that, and besides the normal political brouhaha and sudden appearances of suicide notes (yeah, who writes one and then carries it around? a bit of research on suicidal behaviour would have benefited certain parties. still, if no one does the research, well, then anything floats in this system!)

The worst stories for me are the ones involving the abuse of women and children and other more general stories of carelessness resulting in terrible tragedies.

When I had my first child I was so unused to carrying a  tiny baby in my arms that I had horrible visions of myself doing careless things like forgetting i had the baby in my arms and letting her fall. Being suddenly completely obliged to look after another human being did take its toll sometimes, and I often found myself very distracted, seemingly constantly so. The fear that that feeling of distraction would overwhelm me was constant, and that fear kept me focused.

Not to say I didn't have any accidents or careless moments where the child got hurt falling or bumping or getting caught in some cranny. Like any human being, you can only do your best, and sometimes, even medieval vigilance is not enough. For one thing, my first child was seriously accident prone. I love recounting the story where she rested her hand on the table to balance herself so that she could put on her slippers, and somehow, whacked her head on the edge of the table so hard she burst into tears. How does one do that, when one is already braced against the edge?! We both laugh about it now, but at that moment it was horrible.

Two more babies later, the feeling hasn't gone away. That sense of being powerfully distracted has, and I think that comes with experience. I think, having been very independent from a young age (for an Asian family), having to suddenly devote myself to one person, tiny though she may have been, was supremely difficult. I couldn't just walk out of the house whenever I wanted to, something I loved. Couldn't go to movies just like that, eat lunch just like that. It all had to be juggled around what baby needed or wanted. Now I realise that independence and selfishness are not a bad thing, but must have their proper place in your life. When you have kids, they become number one, and for me, that was a learning curve trying to break old habits!

So I can imagine that being a first time parent can really turn some people's lives upside down, especially if they are unhappy already, or stressed. But the vigilance must never stop.

We are their protectors. Even if you are an unwilling parent for whatever reason, consider the child. Place the child in a safe environment always, and it has to be such an active action. By that i mean, you can't be thoughtless about it, plonking a child in someone else's care, or thinking that they are ok on a busy street pavement, whatever. A child is light, an idea comes to a child and consequences might not be uppermost. That is where the carer comes in to temper that bright light so that it doesn't kill them.

Leaving your kids in the car with the keys in while you open your house gate? What about leaving your empty car running while you open the house gate? We should all feel safe enough to do that. But we all know what can happen. We cannot trust that strangers all care for each other. Call me paranoid, but in my car the doors are always locked as soon as we get inside. I remove the key and take it with me when I go to pay for petrol, even though there may be someone inside the car. I will take security over aircon any day.

Who knows? I could be the next victim, and the car may not be all the criminals are after. It happened to the poor lady whose son was in her car that was stolen, didn't it? I bet she didn't think anyone would even care to steal from her.

Be safe so that you can be around to keep those around you safe. If you have the ability, don't be remiss and allow laziness to lower your vigilance. It's your moral duty to protect those who cannot protect themselves. If you don't care to do that for others, then do it for your own family.

Selamat Berpuasa ;)

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