Friday, November 21, 2008

Dilemma

Today I brought Sosha (daughter, 14) to school. She is recovering from a broken leg and is not able to bike or walk, of course. On my way back home I saw another girl, about the same age, standing next to her bicycle in the pouring rain. We live in a flat area (polder / reclaimed land) and the wind can be very fierce.
I stopped and asked this girl if she needed help. She looked cold and wet and told me that she had to go to her school in Nieuw Vennep, which is a distance of approx. 5 kilometers. I was hesitating. I wanted to help this girl and give her (and her bike) a ride to school, but at the same time I knew that I wouldn't approve when one of my own daugthers accepted this kind of help from a total stranger. I told her that she could make a phone call and ask for permission from her parents, but she had no cell phone on her and didn't want to use mine. I told her that I was willing to help, but that she had to make her own decision about it. She accepted my help and was happy that she arrived a bit earlier, dry and warm at school today!
Still, I don't know if I did the right thing... and I hate the fact that I even have to think about this. Because only a couple of people can't be trusted, it is getting hard to be kind to a girl that needs help. Any thoughts on this? Let me know.

4 comments:

Vicki said...

That's a tough call. Jesus teaches that what we do to (and for) others, we do to (and for) Him. Showing kindness and compassion is part of our calling. However, these days we are prevented us from following through on His teachings because of risks and suspicions... fear of safety for ourselves and for others.

I'm uncertain why the girl declined to use your cell phone; I think I would have insisted on either her calling her parents or you making the call (providing she would give you the contact info).

In the end, I commend you for helping this girl, but perhaps a little 'discussion' on the way to school would have been good - about accepting rides from strangers!

This was definitely a dilemma!!

Paul said...

Thanks, Vicki - I think you are right. I didn't talk about accepting rides from strangers, but I talked about my own kids and told her some details about them (about their age, school etc.) By car it is only a short distance. I didn't want to make her afraid by talking about the potential risk she was taking by accepting help from a stranger. Sometimes you just follow your heart! I also discussed this with my daughters and they told me that they would never accept such a ride. You don't know who to trust these days. Still have mixed feelings about this. Next time I will certainly insist that the girl makes a phone call, you are right about that.
I had a similar situation a couple of months ago, but in that case a teenage girl on her bicycle had an asthma attack. I have asthma myself, so I was able to tell her how to calm down and control her breathing. She was on her way home from school but couldn’t cycle as fast as her friends, because of her asthma. The girls didn't wait for her and I could still see them cycling in the distance. I offered this girl to bring her home with her bike, but she decided to call her friends and ask them to come back and cycle with her. That was a good solution and I was happy that I was able to calm her down and wait with her for her friends. As a father, I sure hope that other parents would do the same for my kids in similar situations.
I know that teachers, coaches and other adults will have similar situations and dilemma's... And this is all because we live in a fallen world where some people can't be trusted with kids.

John said...

Paul,

Bravo for doing the right thing! I agree that the dilemma was very real. I often find myself second guessing decisions simply because of "what this may look like." Unfortunately in our fallen world and coarsening cultures an older man picking up a little girl doesn't look like a helpful gesture. Sadly it looks nefarious.

The only suggestion would be to insist she call her parents. This offers you protection and accountability.

I also have a daughter and would be ever so grateful for a helping hand in a time of need. However, I have warned her to always be alert for bad people.

Keep doing the right thing! I would remind you that the name of the little girl you helped was Jesus. (Matt. 25:31-45).

Blessings!

John

Paul said...

Thanks for your kind words, John. You've really encouraged me - especially with the last words of your comment...
I will remember your (and Vicki's) good advice next time! May God bless you.