Safety FIRST

All praise is due to Allah subhana wa ta’ala, Lord of the worlds.

Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh, my dear brothers and sisters.

My 10-year old khalifah student sent me an email recently about how a child kidnap attempt was foiled. A mother had lost her 4- year old daughter in a supermarket and was frantically searching for her. Her daughter’s loss was reported to the security guard and prompt action was taken.

NOTE: I searched for official news of this incident but was unable to confirm it anywhere. However, because the subject is very important, I think it should be shared. I first read about a missing child case similar to this in the U.K. news a few years ago.

Ever since the Jamie Bulger kidnapping case, malls and shops in the U.K. and E.U. have implemented strict policies regarding lost and missing children (The two boys guilty of baby Jamie’s murder are to be freed this year and allowed to live in Australia under assumed names). The method that the kidnappers use are devious and very effective so it is vital for everyone to adopt a policy of SAFETY FIRST when going out with children (The statistics of missing children around the world are shamefully staggering).

He stole the child away from her mother, took her to a toilet and drugged her. Then, he changed her clothes, shaved her hair and made her look completely different! (in the U.K., security will check first the child’s shoes, as it is the hardest to change).

It was the security guard’s prompt action that helped save this child’s life. He immediately announced it over the loud speakers and to the security department who immediately closed all the entrances and exits to stop anyone from leaving the place. A thorough search was then conducted and they found the missing child.

There can be absolutely NO complacency when it comes to childrens’ safety, in and out of the house. There are too many paedophiles in every society for us to be complacent. When a child is missing, blame falls not only on the parents but on the people around them, as well.

The recent return of Jaycee Dugard after 18 years is a classic example of society’s failure to protect children. When interviewed, the kidnappers’ neighbours told reporters they reported suspicious tents and sheds being put up in the backyard to the police but no investigation was made.

The rule of Safety FIRST was implemented very early on with Adam and Daniel. I used Dr Miriam Stoppard and Dr Penelope Leach’s parenting books as my reference and so learnt the importance of childrens’ safety in their upbringing.

Adam and Daniel were allowed to walk away from us if my husband and I were sitting down only if they remembered to always check that we were in their sight (Normally, it is the other way; parents keep an eye on the child but I wanted the boys to learn to take charge of their safety themselves).

At any time they went beyond the limit (and in the beginning, they did- to test us), we immediately revoked their privilege of walking around (and they hated that!) so they would learn their lesson and not do it again.

Alhamdulillah, now the two boys know the rule of safety FIRST is a ‘non-negotiable, no bargaining’ policy in our family. Should either one of them need to use the toilet when we are out, that person needs to make sure he is accompanied and they have to wait for each other. This applies when they want to do their prayers in the mall’s mussola/surau.

Children’s safety is a very deep issue for me. I still remember being a young girl, following the rescue effort of Baby Jessica, who was left alone in the backyard and fell down a deep hole, just a few inches wide. I still remember the haunting, empty eyes of the young Belgian girl who was rescued from a paedophile ring. There is much evil in the world and we must ensure our childrens’ safety. And by this, I mean:

Your own child; your grandchildren; your nieces and nephews; your neighbours’ children; the child walking alone on the street; that child crying just in front of you; that child you pass every day, begging. (My mother would make me stop the car to feed stray cats; stray children is even more a priority); schoolchildren walking home and every other child that you know, you see, you know about.

There can be no shirking of our responsibility to them.

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About Sharena

My experiences as mother to Adam and Daniel, wife, daughter , teacher, trainer and friend has enriched my life to the fullest. Life is a journey of small steps through love, tests and contentment; fulfilling our role as khalifah makes it even more challenging and satisfactory.
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