Friday, May 16, 2008

Do Not Stand Idly

This morning I had the chance to fulfill the “mitzvah” (good deed) of “Do not stand idly by your brother’s blood”. I will need to preface this with a bit of information.
I live in a community where the crime late is probably the lowest in the world. In addition, the residents are helpful people in general. It is common for young children (say age 5 up to 9) to stand on street corners, waiting for an adult to “cross them” the street. At 7:45 AM, and at 13:00, the hours that these children are going to and from school, the streets are full of adults and teens, and this is really pretty safe. I, for example, would have no fear of Ricki being molested during those hours (also because we HAVE talked about strangers), and after crossing her the last corner* I let her continue on her own.
Now I personally have my qualms about after 8:00 AM. Then the streets are not full of other children and teens, and any who are still about are intent upon arriving to school, as they are late. But since we are a very low crime-rate community, parents sometimes get too complacent or unaware of potential dangers, even if they are unlikely to occur.
But this morning was something entirely different. I took Ricki to school a bit late this morning, because her brother’s return from America had attracted many friends, and she was up enjoying the merriment until a ghastly hour. (I plead the fifth.) In order that she not be a complete zombie in school today, I let her sleep extra late, and let her be a bit tardy. On my way home there is a corner with a stop light. Since the street to the right is not a busy one, and I need to go right, I usually do not cross at the stop light. Instead, I turn right and cross the road further along, where the street has no stop light, and is usually empty. Why stand waiting for the light to change, when I can do it quicker, and just as safely, further down?
But as I was turning right, I noticed two tiny children waiting at the stop-light corner. So I did not disregard them , but backtracked, and waited with them. We crossed together. But frankly, it is beyond me how in the world can someone send such young children (age 3 and 4?; 4 and 5?) on their own. Are they THAT sure that the child won’t jump into the street? That they will wait for the light? That no one will accost them? I only regret that I did not try and get their name/ phone number from them, or even walk them back home, and give their parents a piece of my mind.

*We are still working on her crossing streets safely. She is not 100%