Monday, March 23, 2009

Because it *is* our problem

Remember the ad? It featured the blogosphere's very own Russell Brown. He was the rational, bearded father extolling that child abuse is *our* problem. In other words we mustn't ignore it if we see it happening. That's fair enough. On the weekend I tried it out.

Being young & pretentious, my wife and I, and our daughter (who is of sufficent age to actually be called young and pretentious) checked out the race course for next weekend's Weetbix Tryathlon in St Heliers. We showed our eight year old where to make her move on the bike and then where to surge on the 1K run to come home in place #3,675. It went totally over her head.

But after talking about it we were all hungry and so the bakery in St Heliers, whose name escapes me, beckoned. We were lucky as there was a park right outside. In strolled wife and daughter who were under strict instructions to purchase for me a wholemeal chicken roll and nothing else. No pie. No donut. No cake. No sugary drink. My orders were followed without demur.

But as they were inside purchasing, outside eating was a lady with a 10 year old boy (or so). I presumed it was mother/son. It was with this couple whom I witnessed the child abuse.

This poor boy had a fat guts. And I'm not talking puppy fat that toddlers have. This boy was at least 10 and he had rolls of fat that could clearly be seen through his shirt. His mother was quite thin and it was with uncaring eyes through which she witnessed him stuffing his face with lolly cake, a pie and a chocolate milk drink - a large one at that.

I couldn't help myself. I had to intervene on the child abuse. I got out of the car and said she couldn't do that; it was against the law. She asked what I was talking about. I replied "abusing your son like you are doing". She looked strangely at me and asked "what abuse? I never hit my son. What are you talking about"? I apologised for intervening but explained as the TV ads featuring Russell Brown said it was *our problem*, and therefore *my problem* I had to step in when I saw abuse. She again queried what abuse I was talking about - that she didn't hit anyone, let alone her son and was I nuts? That was a fair question.

Then I just gave her a number: 580. I explained that she had just hit her kid 580 times: that's the number of calories I estimated he had just consumed for lunch and how he needed to exercise in excess of an hour this afternoon, solidly, to burn it off.

At this stage my wife and daughter had come out of the bakery with my singular wholemeal chicken roll. I looked at mum and son, pointed at my roll, and said "180".

We left. Point proven hopefully.

If in the future you want me to mind my own business don't go on TV stating it is *our* problem. You might save a well annointed mum from St Heliers a whole lot of embarrassment.***

*** I should point out I suppose that I saw what was mentioned in this post but never intervened. Mind you it was verrry tempting. My point is this: is there a limit on what is child abuse and what isn't? Because what I witnessed was, in my view, child abuse and therefore, according to Russell, was my problem to sort out.


WAKE UP said...

I bet you anything that Russell wouldn't have a bar of you or anyone else telling him how to raise his kids ; and that Russell's target child abusing parental audience don't even know who he is - no disrepect to him, but he's part of today's conventional "wisdom" that you can fix something by making a video and showing it on mainstream telly.

Anonymous said...

"Because what I witnessed was, in my view, child abuse and therefore, according to Russell, was my problem to sort out."

In your view, but, technically, buying your kids fatty food is not illegal (yet), so intervention isn't really justified.

As far as I can tell, whacking your kids is now illegal, so stepping in in that instance would be the appropriate thing to do.

Nigel Kearney said...

No, No, No.

You're not supposed to decide for yourself what is and is not ok. You have to wait for Russell and his friends to come on TV and tell you. That's why we pay for the ad.

Anonymous said...

You have to wait for Russell and his friends to come on TV and tell you.

But I don't own a TV! How am I supposed to align my moral compass correctly!