Monday, August 9, 2010

In The Village

Parenthood gives you a new perspective on life, and yesterday I saw something that still makes me feel sick to my stomach.

As our family drove to church, we approached a busy neighborhood intersection filled with cars, people enjoying a morning stroll, and bicyclists. My husband and I noticed a man, dressed in biking gear a la Lance Armstrong, towing a small child behind him in a mesh trailer. He was also accompanied by two other young children on bikes of their own. They were leaving the grounds of a nearby high school, but rather than crossing the street at the crosswalk, the man proceeded to lead his little entourage across the middle of the intersection at the exact moment that the light turned green for oncoming traffic.

In horror, my husband and I watched as cars stopped in the road for this man and his children, who were simply following their dad's directions to cross. Once they were safely on the other side, two separate vehicles pulled over to give the man a piece of their minds. We couldn't tell what was being said by both parties, but the dad was obviously angry at being reprimanded by strangers, and he stopped his bike to yell at the drivers, while his two young children continued riding down the street, oblivious to the danger they were in.

As parents, we are supposed to protect our children at all costs, and clearly this man showed a grave lapse in judgment. But it's probably something we've all done, or will do, at some point, because we are human. I don't know if I could have screamed at him from inside my car, the way the other drivers did, but I also understand their anger. The man put his children's lives in danger for a split second, and those drivers could have killed all of them because of that decision.

I just kept thinking about the children's mother, who was probably at home cleaning up the kitchen after breakfast or taking a long, hot shower, and how she will most likely never know what happened that hot summer morning.