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Perfect parents are always found behind a Keyboard

August 21, 2012

Last weekend saw a very tragic accident not very far from where I live. It made national news (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-19328786).

The story is utterly distressing, family at the seaside on a lovely day, they take a wander down the jetty to take a closer look at the incoming tide. Young boy slips off the edge and is as yet still missing. As a parent of a young child, it hurts just to type those words, let alone pause and consider how awful this event is.

I have the benefit of having visited the beach in question several times and have stood on the jetty, with my daughter, and watched the rapidity with which the water comes up and swirls next to the jetty. I consider myself a strong swimmer and while I too would have no hesitation is jumping in after a fallen kid, the currents there are very strong and I don’t think I’d find swimming in them easy or pleasant. A young child effectively has no chance.

Since this event is relatively local to me and I will continue to visit the location, I have followed the story more closely that I would normally. Stories of children dying tragically are not pleasant to read and so I generally actively avoid them.

In my internet travels following this story I have seen the understandable outpouring of sympathy to the family. Also predictably, there have been the idiotic comments about letting a child so young get so close to the sea and why someone wasn’t holding his hand. Even why didn’t someone jump in after him? The person who made that latter comment obviously didn’t read the story they were commenting on because both parents jumped in and had to be rescued themselves, such is the strength of those currents.

It is an unfortunate fact of life that there will be people who have dumb ideas or suggestions to make. Thankfully they are still a very significant minority, but sadly they lack the intelligence and common sense to keep their dumb ideas to themselves. How they think airing their wisdom after the event actually helps anyone is beyond me.

Another suggestion I saw posted was asking about health and safety at the beach and why it was possible for children under 16 to even go down that jetty. Does that person really think that is a reasonable action to take or consider? Do they mean just this beach or all beaches across the land? What I’d love to know is how they think this sort of idea would be implemented! I also wonder if said person ever crosses the road!

Life has danger, the act of living could be considered dangerous. Sadly, accidents like this will continue to happen. That’s not to say they are not tragic and should be avoided where possible. However, it life was made so safe that an accident like this was impossible, then life would have much less interest. I’m not saying that the danger creates the interest; I’m saying that removing the danger also removes the interest.

Protection from danger needs to be weighed up with the absolute need and with regards to this beach; I don’t think anything should be changed. Yes, this is a dangerous beach, there is a lot of mud and approaching the sea is hazardous. The incoming tide is astoundingly fast. Holiday makers are routinely rescued from the mud.

What happened to this family is deeply saddening. Wise-cracks about safety and what might have been done by perfect parents behind a keyboard help no one.

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From → Parenting

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