My friend Rebecca wrote a piece about Where is the Village, inspired by the little child who managed to enter the gorilla exhibit at the Cincinati Zoo.

Many were quick to judge the parents losing sight of their child. If you’re not a parent, you can’t offer an opinion. Sorry. And if you are a parent and it hasn’t happened to you yet, hold on. Some day it will, even for a micro second.

It was 4:30pm in the afternoon when the phone rang. It was the school.

My kids were outside playing. Was it my third-grade son’s teacher calling to address my son’s silly behaviour in class again?

Or was it my sixth-grader’s teacher calling to share her concerns about my son’s recent math test results?

No. it was the school office calling to see if I by chance knew where my nine-year-old son’s best friend could be. Did he say anything to my son about going to a friend’s after school? Was he with us?

Usually his babysitter picks him up by car, and they drive home. But this day, the boy wasn’t at his usual spot.

I panicked for the boy. I thought of his mother. 

So of course, I ran outside, and called my son to ask him if his friend said anything at all to him about where he was going after school.

Could he have gone to his friend’s house? To the park? Was he hanging around the school?

The village is still there.

My boys and their neighbourhood friends rode their bicycles to the park to look for him. They then rode to the school to see if they heard any word.

The boy was technically missing for about an hour.

If I was the mom with the missing child, I would want everyone to help me.

Just then, the boy enters the front doors of the school with his babysitter.

The babysitter had arrived late to pick the boy up from school. Because his sitter arrived late, the boy walked over to the park and played with a friend for a while. He then walked all the way home, and knocked on the door. But no one was there, so he walked to the park closest to his house and waited. He was scared, and waited there.

Of course, the boy now knows what to do should his sitter ever be late again.

There have been many moments where this has happened, just a split second at the grocery or toy store when you lose sight of your child for a moment and the panic sets in.

You could only hope there are other people who would drop everything to help in a situation like this.

What if it were your child.

Do you even have to put yourself in that situation? Put yourself in the other person’s shoes? You just help.

My boys and their friends were rewarded with freezies and thank-yous by the school admin and teachers who were frantically searching and making phone calls.

My nine-year-old met up with his best friend later, and I chatted with his mom, who hugged me and thanked us for our concern and efforts.

Of course we would help. We would expect anyone to do the same.

But I guess the world out there isn’t as kind as we may be. Some people do look the other way.

I do believe there are still good people out there willing to lend a helping hand.

The village is still there – you just need to find it.

Author

Maria Lianos-Carbone is the author of “Oh Baby! A Mom’s Self-Care Survival Guide for the First Year”, and publisher of amotherworld.com, a leading lifestyle blog for women.

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