Do you ever...let your kid ride a bike to the library? Walk to school? Make dinner? Or are you thinking about it? If so, you are raising a Free-Range Kid! Free-Rangers believe in helmets, car seats, seat belts safety! We just do NOT believe that every time school age kids go outside, they need a security detail. Share your stories, tell your tips and maybe I'll use them in a new book. Here's to common sense parenting in uncommonly overprotective times!
I love this. That’s all I can think to say. I just love this.
I would have passed a note so an announcement could be made from the pulpit.
I am at a loss for words to explain the trauma that would inflict on the boy. I’m tempted to jokingly compare it, but that wouldn’t be funny or true. But it sure as hell would make sure the kid never asked for help for anything remotely possibly embarrassing ever again.
I thought for sure the old man was gonna need help with his zipper too!
My godson had an issue with his zipper when he was in kindergarten that resulted in the janitor yanking it up with a pair of pliers. At least this situation didn’t come to that.
This actually happened to me once, and as soon as I saw the title of the blog entry I remembered it. I was volunteering at a primary school and a 6 year old boy was crying in the bathroom. I eventually got it out of him that he couldn’t do up his zipper; it was stuck. He wasn’t chubby by any stretch of the imagination, it was just stuck. I did up his button for him, but try as I might I could not get the zipper up. I reassured him it would be okay now that at least he had his button done up, and he could pull his shirt down over his zipper.
The only worry I ever had was if the poor kid’s peers would see and laugh at him.
I give the guy a lot of credit for figuring out that as long as he made what he was doing really obvious in front of a witness, he’d be okay, and acting on it. He really WAS in a tough position, if he wanted to be decent to the kid rather than either embarrassing him or ignoring his plight.
And yes, the person who would have passed a note making a pulpit announcement….that’s just horrible. There’s no way the note could have been worded discreetly enough so as not to embarrass the kid, while still providing enough information to actually get him help.
That made me smile.
Wow. People have strange ideas about what it means to help a child with zipper trouble.
Thank the Lord for common sense! and for this kind man who helped a kid.
“People have strange ideas about what it means to help a child with zipper trouble.”
I think people have very accurate ideas about easily doing so could be misinterpreted or misunderstood, either by a witness, or by someone the child later related the incident to, especially in an atmosphere like a Catholic Church where people’s radar is set really high, due to painful institutional experience. Is that a sign that people are paranoid? Yes. Is it a reality? Also yes.
This was my (un)favorite as well.
“- I would have found a woman to help him. ”
Besides what the man who wrote the piece said about what this says about people’s attitudes toward men, I wonder what the genius who proposed this had in mind. Woman go into the men’s bathroom to help? Oh, no danger THAT could be misinterpreted. Kid come out of the bathroom still unzipped, to be helped by a woman in a space other than the bathroom (i.e. possibly public view)? Oh, just GREAT for the kid.
This story not only made me smile but made me wonder if maybe the old man really was an angel 🙂
Thing is, if I’d walked in on them, I’d probably just think, there’s a guy helping his son with his dressing. I like his clear verbalisation strategy. And, there are all sorts of child-adult situations one comes across in public space – crying children, children being scolded, adults with children crying, adults exasperated with childs dressing etc etc. This guy points to the number one strategy for interacting with children, even strange children, be clear with the child what you are going to do, asks for assent ie (“Okay?” and get at least a nod), then talk it through. It provides the child with security and therefore, they are calm which means if anyone comes along, the situation looks alright. Number one sign of paedophilia is ‘No one saw anything, and no-one knew anything until after the fact”. Those few sick souls are of a plotting nature, so are not likely to be active in any situation in which people could just walk in.
I’m with Tim. I was convinced that the Old Man/Angel was either going to need help or was going to tell a charming story about his own pants.
Thanks for sharing!
Ugh, I had a 3rd grade Boy Scout one year who had clearly outgrown his pants…he had just gone to the restroom and was going to participate in the Honor Guard (presenting the flag, leading the Pledge of Allegiance) for our Veterans’ Day assembly, where there were hundreds of people in attendance, including several dozen veterans. He asked me for help, and ….there, in the foyer of the gym, I zipped his pants for him–making sure there were 3 other adults who could see what I was REALLY DOING–ZIPPING THE KID’S PANTS. I hated the fact that my mind went first to what people would think if the kid said “the wrong thing,” and second to the poor kid’s need. We live in fear of what others will think/say, and aren’t free to do the right thing sometimes.
I’m a regular lap swimmer and I’ve helped kids with knots in their swim trunks in the changing room a number of times over the years. I have to admit, in the current climate, I wouldn’t help out the same way again.
That’s a sweet story!
I love this story my kids keep asking me whats so funny. Everyone in my family is or has been a teacher so we have many similar stories. But this one just had me rolling. Its kind of a common sense quiz and this guy passed but his failed epically.
What a sad world we live in where the first reaction to a child in distress is, “is someone going to bust me for being compassionate/helpful”.
I understand that we live in a litigious society, I get that there are dirtbags who prey on kids, I get all that. But I also get that 99% of people are decent and kind, and it makes me just weep that it has come to this.
Make an announcement. Honestly. And the very next one would be, “And also, if there is a Therapist in the house, would you please accompany the Zipper-Upper to the back of the church? Because that kid is going to need YEARS of therapy after this announcement about his stuck zipper.”
See, this is one of those times I feel lucky to be a woman. The chances that I’d be accused of evil intentions while helping a little girl OR boy are still slim. I hope it stays that way (what with everyone nowadays harping on how women can be molesters too).
I have a friend who was on a very long flight and a little boy came up to him and said, “will you take me to the toilet? My dad is asleep.” He took him with no problem. They were both from an Eastern culture. I guess in today’s America, the kid would have been instructed to go wake up his dad.
I have this sudden memory of using a public washroom any years ago. A little girl came out of a cubicle with her pants and underwear down and asked if I could wipe her bottom for her. So I did, and she happily finished the rest herself and went on her merry way out the bathroom, where I just assumed her Dad was waiting, unable to go into the women’s washroom.
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I applaud this guy for helping out–damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead.
It reminds me of a time last year when I was playing with my 3 year-old girl in the park & a little girl of 5 or so came up to me & asked me to help her up the monkey bars. I did so & even watched her while she did the whole “I can go from here to there, watch this” routine.
Did I mention that it was about 94’F outside & I had removed my shirt also?
But no one thought anything of it, nor should they have.
Blackberry Bold 9000
Bravo to him! Gender stereotypes (whether “women shouldn’t work” or “men are pedophiles”) are only beaten when people are brave enough to risk their reputation in order to do what’s right.
[…] A Boy and His Zipper/Man Problem « FreeRangeKids […]
Lol! Love this article. I would have done the same thing. He’s right too, any other way would have been embarrassing for the little boy. The other good thing about this story, is that the parents’ of this little boy allowed him to go to the washroom by himself. There is hope for people. lol
@ Pentamom: It could easily well be a case of perverted thoughts come from perverted minds as well. One has to wonder, all these parents who think the worse of strangers, and all the perverted things they can do to their children, maybe they fear what’s in them and project it towards strangers. I’ve never thought of those things with my nephew and children of friends.
This is too funny! How horrible for the little buy, I wonder how long he had been straining in the cubicle for? How sad that in today’s society a man would have to second guess his want to help a young man in distress.
Eric — there’s probably some truth to what you say, but I suppose that even a quite normal person, if constantly exposed to all the hype about molesters lurking behind every door, and not wise enough to be skeptical about it, could begin to think that way for quite innocent reasons. Not good reasons, but not evil, perverted ones.