Friday, July 18, 2014

Helping or Enabling?

Yesterday was predictably hectic at work but looking at pictures from camping makes me smile! However, bringing lots of folks who don't all know each other super well together had its interesting moments. One family, a single dad with 2 boys and his older boys friend is someone that is "a friend of my friends."  But they only met him by camping at the same place several  years ago.  This dad is loving but there is sort of benign neglect going on.The youngest boy is 5 and the older one is 11.  I suspect the 11  year old has a lot of responsibilities to care for his little brother when they are not camping.

The little guy latched on to the rest of our camping friends like a drowning man with a life raft. He would wander over and pronounce he was hungry, needed a bandaid, wanted to go to the pool etc.  I can not ignore a hungry child.  I fed the boy (and a number of others that would be playing with my kids when our meals were ready) all weekend.

The only time my other friends and I had something close to a serious discussion was about this.  We were all concerned for the little fellow. But my friends felt I should stop feeding him because otherwise his dad was not going to learn. Was I enabling?  I doubt it.  The little boy is 5 and I he was treated the same way by his dad last year when we were camping.  It just isn't in me to let a child be hungry if I can avoid it. Or for them to be scared and bandaids don't cost much either. For this particular campout I always buy extra food anyway because where we are all in this giant field, there is not any real level of privacy and I figured that other people would probably eat with us from time to time. And at some level, dad tries.  The little fellow was petriefied of the pool.  I showed his father the swim vests my kids use and let his son try it.  When he saw Josh go in the water, he dug out something very similar from the storage areas of his trailer and made the kid's pool times much more enjoyable.

Then I came back home and could reconnect with the real world via news and the internet.  I read about the undocumented children and deportations.  I was even happier that I helped that little boy.  There are so many children that I can't.

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