… as if out of nowhere, we saw a toddler, wearing nothing else but a very full diaper, dart across the pavement. He managed to make it across to car lanes but as brakes screeched…
November 22, 2014
I had forgotten all about what happened that fall day in 1995 near Sherbrook Pool in Winnipeg until I read the following opinion piece this morning in Victoria. I could say this is because at 58 years old and going on 59, I forget a lot of things. What came to mind first, though, when I was thinking about that day in Winnipeg, is I have lived a full life and, if I follow in the footsteps of many of my ancestors, I probably still have a couple, if not three, decades before I ascend into the spirit world. So far, it has been more good than bad. The following story had a happy ending so I have to say that day near Sherbrook Pool was good one after all:
West Central Streets
Love the Children
by Tanya Lester
Itt was a warm fall Friday afternoon during rush hour a few years ago. My son Like, who was five years old, and I had hoped to take advantage of the free swim at Sherbrook Pool but the building was closed for renovations. To cope with out disappointment, I suggested we walk down to Ellice Variety for a treat at the snack counter.
We could not help but notice the heavy traffic as we walked up Sherbook St. Then, as if out of nowhere, we saw a toddler, wearing nothing else but a very full diaper, dart across the pavement. He managed to make it across two car lanes but as brakes screeched, I froze and held my breath. I was sure the child wasn’t going to make it. I can still see the little boy, in my mind’s eye, just making it past the right front tire of a small brown car, stool falling out of his diaper and onto the pavement.
My thoughts were shared by the driver of the car. He jumped out and we got the child off the street. The man was extremely distraught and, thinking I was the mother, began to apologize over and over again.
We sorted things out and got the kids across the street before a man emerged from one of the houses. He turned out to be the child’s father.
“This kid is going to get killed if you don’t look out for him'” I said, handing him over. I did not want to guilt trip anyone but I felt I had to speak my mind. A life might depend on me finding my voice.
I could go on and on and on about child neglect in this community but I think most people reading this are well aware of the problem. Children are neglected everyday, on probably every street in the West Central area.
It is OUR problem so how can WE possibly solve it.
Here are some of my suggestions:
1. Because there is such a high number of children in our area and so much traffic, we should talk to city council candidates about putting signs on the streets to caution drivers.
2. We should talk to our neighbours when we seem them neglecting their children. If personal safety is a concern, then we can ask a friend to go with us.
3. We can lobby city council and other levels of government for more safe play areas in our community.
4. We can call Child and Family Services when we see neglect but we can also ask CFS to establish more free parenting courses and parent support groups in the area.
5. We can call the Police but we can also lobby city council. (Have you signed the petition?) for a Community Policing office that is well staffed and open in the night.
6. Smile at a kid today. If you are parent, hug your child(ren) today.
7. Say something nice to a kid today. If you are a parent, tell you child(ren) you love them today.
8. Volunteer to work with the kids in our community at a school, in a child care centre or community centre; or in a reading program.
9. Go outside and throw a ball around, play tag or another game with the kids living near you. (Make sure it’s okay with their parents.)
10. Be a Block Parent.
To read the early posts in this blog, please go to http://www.writingsmall.wordpress.com
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Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader by Tanya Lester can be purchased from the author or by going to the title and author name to read the first few pages and to buy at http://www.amazon.com
Tanya Lester’s other books are Friends I Never Knew,Dreams and Tricksters, and Women Rights/Writes. These books are available in some library systems and at Legislative Library of Manitoba.