We are failing. Not intentionally of course. Nevertheless, the fact of the matter is we are unsuccessful in our plight to keep our children safe. I get it. Especially from the perspective of a single parent who has been placed in a position to “do what I have to do” far too many times to count. We often have to cut corners and make terrifying decisions. Still, doing what we “have to do” should never be at the expense of our children’s lives. We have to STOP taking the risk of them traveling to and from alone. Going to get an education should never be a trying as it is now. Our babies are coming up missing and we have to do something about it.
Who cares if you think they are “responsible”children? I don’t. Many responsible children are taken every single day. Maybe it’s the fact that we can no longer rely on the village to help us raise our children that forces many parents to be stuck between a rock and a hard place. There aren’t many grandmothers, friends, neighbors, or family members overall who don’t feel like “your baby is your responsibility”. This is true. There aren’t that many “villages” that continue to help you raise your children. However, many parents are too prideful or ignorant to allow them to help anyway. I remember being afraid to curse or even be somewhere I wasn’t supposed to be as a youth because if I saw one of my mother’s friends they would scold me, only for me to go home and get it again. Nowadays, you tell someone’s child to look both ways when crossing a street and their parents will tell you not to tell their child what to do. Perplexing.
While driving to work I see children under the age of eight walking to school, alone, or very small groups. Many of those days it’s dark and dreary. Many of those children are playing with their phones, unaware of their surroundings. Many mornings we hear on the news that children are taken going to and from school…into cars…never to return home again. So why are we not trying to find a solution for their travel regardless of if we are single parents, overworked, underpaid, or whatever? We have to protect and cover our babies at any cost.
What can we do?
- Inquire about if your child’s school provides school bus services. If your child’s school has a school bus service, see if you are within the distance to participate in services.
- Search for independent van/bus services. Groupon has discounts and many services offer discounts for transporting more than one child. Go to google, ask another parent, look around.
- Carpool. If you have a parent at your child’s school that you trust, who lives near you, make a deal. Maybe they can take the children to school and you will pick them up.
- Find an after school program. Some programs offer vouchers where your children can attend for free or either allow you to pay on a sliding fee scale. The local park districts often offer their services until the late evenings allowing parents to get off of work and make it to their children with time to spare. Many of them offer tutoring services also.
- Daycare. Many daycares will offer after school services for the “big kids”. They even provide the transportation to and from school. Get prices. The state may even provide you with assistance.
- Consider child watches and prepaid cellphones with GPS trackers. We need to keep our children safe at all costs.
Teach your children basic safety tips for when you are not around such as…
- Screaming. I teach my son to scream “who are you? I don’t know you” as well as “you’re not my mom, you’re not my dad” in case anyone tries to get hime to go with them.
- Fight back. Teach your children that all rules are out the window if someone grabs them. Bite them, poke them in the eye, dig into their face. Make it hard for them to get you into their car.
- Trust your gut. If they feel like something is wrong or that someone is capable of harming them, seek help immediately.
- Teach your child your phone number and full name. This way no matter where they are someone who is helping them can find you quickly.
Photo credit: Filipe Rude