Wednesday, May 10, 2017
He couldn’t have been more than six years old. I could hear him from two blocks away. Dressed in an oversized school uniform, he tugged and snarled and pulled at his father, a willowy figure who could barely keep his balance, much less the pram containing his younger sister from rolling into traffic.
I ran across the road and steadied the pram with one hand as I knelt down to face the boy. This could easily be my own boy.
“Hey buddy, why are you upset?”, my voice about an octave higher than usual.
I knew instantly that I may as well have spoken to a brick wall.
His father looked at me, his face screaming the words no parent is allowed to publicly utter, “WTF DO I DO??”, as he struggled to keep his balance.
Nodding towards his pram, I dropped my voice back down an octave: “I’ll hold this while you do that”, nodding back to his son.
He then held the boy tightly. Enveloped him in his arms. Whispered sternly into his ear, “Are you finished?” “Calm down.” “Can we go now?” “Why won’t you calm down?”
The light turned green. He had to go. He brushed past me without much of a look, pushing the pram across the street with the boy struggling and screaming in tow.
I wasn’t going to tell him how to be a parent.
But at least I gave him a shot.