One summer my family and I visited a well-known amusement park for a day of frolic and fun in the sun. Shortly after walking for what seemed at least a mile, we arrived at the kiddie section and sat down to allow my nephew time to have some fun on the rides.
I had been relaxing for only five minutes, when a little girl around 7 years old appeared out of nowhere crying and said she’d lost her mommy. She grabbed my neck and collapsed in my arms. I calmed her and assured her I would help find her mommy. Family members suggested I take her to the security station at the front gate, but I didn’t want to further traumatize her by handing her over to security personnel. Another relative recommended I wait for her mother who had certainly missed her by now. Since physical exhaustion had me in its grip, this seemed to be a more logical solution. But after 15 minutes, no one showed up so we went to look for her mother.
I clutched her tiny hand. She smiled and appeared to relax. I told her to take me to the places where she had played. Our first stop came up empty, and the second and third. At our fourth stop, she pointed to a woman on a bench who was in deep conversation with another woman and stated “that’s my mommy.”
As I approached the women, I found it strangely peculiar the child didn’t race to the comfort of her mother’s arms. I asked the woman if the little girl was her child. She immediately turned and looked to what apparently had been the last place she had seen her child and mumbled, “yes, thank you,” as tears of shock and embarrassment clouded her eyes.
I’m not a parent, but I flashed back to when the child approached me and how terrified she had been. I wondered how long she had wandered aimlessly in a sea of strange faces looking for her mother’s familiar face.
In today’s society children are in serious danger of predators, and we must become more diligent to protect them. So every day safeguard your children. Hug them, hold them close to your hearts often, kiss them, embrace their beautiful spirits and thank God for their precious gifts of life.
Children should be playing, laughing, dancing in the rain, and running in parks and playgrounds. Instead many of them are being preyed upon. Guard them more closely and educate them early and well to the tricks, lures and dangers of predators. And I pray the next child who gets lost at that amusement park doesn’t collapse into the arms of the wrong stranger.