Monday, May 2, 2011


I pride myself on being an eternal optimist.

But sometimes things happen that make a darn good attempt at shaking my confidence in others.

Before I begin, just know that Little Brother is fine with no permanent damage; it’s more the ideology and how the situation was handled that has me irate.

Mom-E and I are involved in a church group for couples with families.

This past weekend, we had an end-of-year picnic at a local park.

The boys were very excited, particularly because they got to wear bathing suits and play in the “splash pad”, which has about a half-dozen ways to squirt water at your brother.

As an aside, it’s wonderful that kids love to play in the water no matter how cold.

But anyway, a school-aged child of one of the parents in the group brought a slingshot. We were all hanging out in a picnic area under an awning. Some of the kids were shooting rocks at balloons stuck in some trees outside our picnic area.

When have you ever heard the words slingshot and park together with a happy ending.

Mom-E and I were cognizant of the slingshot, and made sure to keep all 3 boys under the awning, when they weren’t splashing (which was away from the slingshot).

However, as things were beginning to wind down, Little Brother was under the awning when suddenly he screamed.

And then there was blood.

Mom-E was actually hit in the stomach by the rock. It must’ve ricocheted off of a tree, bounced off Little Brother’s head, and deflected to Mom-E (who caught it).

Instantly, I grabbed him and put pressure on his head with a towel. For sure I thought, “Here we go again. Staples. And vigilant monitoring for any vomiting or changes in his awareness.”

We were very fortunate. He ended up with a very small abrasion on his head that didn’t even require a band-aid. 2 minutes later he was shoving me away to the tune of “I want to go swing.”

And the other people in the group were appropriately attentive to Little Brother, and what help, if any, might be needed.

But after that things broke down.

Someone said, “It couldn’t have been a rock.”

“Oh yes it was, Mom-E caught it.”

And then someone asked Mom-E “How big was it?”

Who cares! My kid could’ve been blinded or killed. From that height, even a pebble could’ve caused some real damage.

But the worst part was that, to the best of our knowledge, no one—parent or child—actually apologized to Little Brother, Mom-E, or I.

The mother of the boy who brought the slingshot just made some comment about how it was some other boys who had been playing with the slingshot.

Umm, hello, when did you forget how to think rationally?

I couldn’t believe the utter “lack of parenting.” Neither could Mom-E. Especially coming from a church group in which we talk about parenting stuff for an hour a week. Apparently, some folks weren’t paying any attention, or their presence is just “for show”.

Aside from the (obvious) fact that we would never let our kids bring a slingshot to the park, if my boys—even unintentionally—hurt another child, I would immediately apologize profusely to the parent and child, they would apologize profusely to the parent and child, and we would leave IMMEDIATELY, in disgrace, while Mom-E and I discussed whether to buy tickets for reform school or Siberia.

Okay, probably neither, but there would be SERIOUS consequences.

I was so tense out of concern for Little Brother that I felt like a shaky mess for about the next hour. Even today I still feel a little scattered.

As I noted at the beginning, Little Brother is fine. I put neosporin in his hair and told him I was just wiping a booger.

But my confidence in others is visibly shaken right now. I’m abhorred at the indifference from the responsible parties—both the slingshot-bringer and –shooter.

I recognize that it’s not my place to judge, but I hope (told you I’m an eternal optimist) that I’d be hard-pressed to find someone who thought this was handled well.

Have a good week,
Be responsible, your children will grow-up to emulate you,


  1. Who gives a young child a slingshot to play with anyway? It's very unfortunate that those parents thought that it was a good idea to both provide their child with a weapon and not teach them that it could hurt others. That kid now thinks that it is okay to rationalize a situation rather than face it head on and be humble. Once Mom-E, Aunt-E, and I were walking through the neighborhood we grew up in and I was hit in the head by a boy playing with a slingshot. At least he had enough sense to apologize...then pay me so I wouldn't tell on him...


    CY Aunt-E

  2. Don't know what those parents were thinking. Never should have allowed the kid to bring the sling shot in the first place. I agree with CY Aunt-E. One time CY Aunt-E and I were walking through our neighborhood when she was little and a kid intenionally threw firecrackers at us. While we were dancing in the street trying to avoid the firecrackers as they were popping all around us, another neighbor (adult) grabbed the kid so he couldn't throw anymore. The kid went home and told his Dad...who then called the police. When the cop, the kid and his dad came looking for the neighbor who grabbed the kid they asked Grampap if he had seen him. Grampap said "NO" but he also told the cop and the kid's dad what the kid had done and that was the end of that.