May 28, 2016. A date one mother will never forget.
Sixty seconds was all it took, for a 3-year-old boy to change a family outing to a possible unspeakable tragedy.
A mother with her son, along with three other children, were at the Cincinnati Zoo much like many other families that day. But like many of us, a moment of distraction changed everything.
The little boy slipped away into the enclosure of a 450 pound gorilla, named Harambe. Can you imagine? Can you even fathom what this parent may have been feeling? Or are you one of the many who could care less about the mother and more about the gorilla?
Thankfully, the little boy was not seriously injured but the zoo suffered the loss of an amazing animal. Harambe was shot in order to protect the child.
Some were upset because the animal was shot. Others condemned the parents and lay blame on the mother. They became the center of criticism. The calls for criminal charges grew as the story unfolded.
A petition to seek Justice for Harambe received more than 500,000 signatures.
The internet was bombarded with news stories,opinion polls and the outpouring of justice to be served.
And then CNN Headline reads, Gorilla killing: 3-year-old boy’s mother won’t be charged.
“By all accounts, the mother did not act in a way where she presented this child to some harm,” said Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters. He continued to say,… “if anyone doesn’t believe a 3-year-old can scamper off very quickly, they’ve never had kids.”
As a Child Development Specialist with over twenty years of experience with children ages birth to school age, I know all too well the importance of safety to the well-being of a child. I also know and have witnessed parents/guardians who do not take parenting seriously. The fact is, there are many adults in this world who do not deserve to be parents, nor should be given legal rights to do so.
I completely understand the outrage of questions. Many have asked, “Where were the parents?” Let me assure you…Michelle Gregg, the mother of this child was there. She was fully engulfed as a mother would and should be. I’m sure when she planned the family outing, she had no intentions nor thought of such a horrifying incident could happen.
I completely understand how animal rights activists would be saddened by the decision to kill a completely innocent animal. I, too, hate to see any animal suffer for a cause.
I completely understand the mind of a young child. I know their curiosity. I know their defiance. I know their determination. I know their energy, their tactics and their meltdowns. I know how they think and it’s not that of an adult.
I GET IT! I COMPLETELY GET IT!
What I don’t understand is the judgemental accusations. I don’t understand the lack of respect. I don’t understand the “holier than thou” attitude. I don’t understand how the death of a gorilla is more important than the safety of a young child. I don’t understand the concept of kicking a person when they’re already down. I don’t understand why this mother was unworthy of compassion. I just don’t understand.
Many parents have had minor mishaps and major accidents with their children. Even the best of parents have lost their child in a crowded mall or busy theme park. Parenting does not come with a guideline or handbook to follow. Good parenting is not about not making mistakes. Good parents make mistakes. Parenting is not about how often we get things right but rather, learning when we get it wrong.
Some may think I am taking sides with the mother of this young child. I am not taking any side. I am merely stating facts and truly concerned with the way, we, as a people…have learned to quickly condemn those who falter, fail or fall through a life struggle. I am truly concerned that so many are quick to judge. I am truly concerned that compassion is no longer a recognized moral quality of our nation.
My thoughts go back to the verse in the Bible: Clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12
May we, as a people, as a nation…begin to see people with compassion.
This is merely the view from my window. You are entitled to agree, disagree or merely be indifferent. I’m just opening the window to a personal view from where I see things. You are more than welcome to share your view. The window is open to all.
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