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Not Minding My Own Business

About 10 years ago, I was driving our neighborhood carpool home from elementary school. With me were my own 2 children and 3 other neighbor kids, ranging in age from about 6-9.

At a stop light, I recognized a 3rd grade boy walking home with a man whom I presumed to be his dad or step-dad. At first, they were goofing around, but soon the horseplay turned ugly and the adult got angry and picked up the boy, threw him over his shoulder (like a sack of potatoes, but facing outwards so his back was arched). I knew this was an uncomfortable position and anxiously waited for the man to put the boy down. He didn't, and minutes passed as they continued on across the crosswalk and halfway down the next block.

This intersection was where I needed to turn the other way to go home, but I just couldn't do it.... I did a U-turn and pulled my minivan over, rolled down the window and addressed the man. "You need to put the kid down," I said. "Well, he's disrespecting me and I'm teaching him a lesson!", the guy said. I saw that the boy was having trouble breathing and was crying, upset and scared. "You need to put the kid down NOW - expletive," I said, "or I'm going to call Child Protective Services." At this point the guy finally set the boy down and they walked away.

I turned my minivan around and started back on the path home, when my 7-year-old daughter said, "Mom I can't believe you called that guy an a$$##le!" I said, "I did?!" I didn't even realize what came out of my mouth, but it obviously was effective. "Well," I explained, "he really was one and he needed to be told." The kids were a little in awe of me at this point! Of course, I don't typically use profanity - for the record...

When I got home, I called the school and reported the incident, which they passed on to the authorities as they are required to do. I knew the boy's teacher and she personally thanked me for doing what I did. She said the boy struggled at school and they were concerned about the home situation. The man with the boy was the mom's boyfriend and "took care" of him while she was working. Poor kid. If this man treated him like this in public, what went on at his home?

Now I volunteer as a Guardien Ad Litem for our local CASA organization and help kids who have been removed from their homes due to imminent danger, so in a way I am continuing to stand up to the bad guys.

Love your show Dr. L. Keep up the great work.

Tags: Parenting, Protecting children, Values
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