An open letter to perfect parents: put down your pitchforks

An open letter to perfect parents: put down your pitchforks

“I’ve had enough of scrolling through comment threads and seeing over and over again questions like, ‘Where were the parents?’"

In the wake of the tragedies at the Cincinnati Zoo concerning Harambe the gorilla and at the Disney resort where an alligator dragged a boy into the lake, much of the focus of the discourse remains on the parents themselves.

People are quick to criticize their ability to watch over their children, while some questioned whether or not they’re fit to be parents.

Sadly, many of these people are parents themselves, parents who know first and foremost that despite careful supervision children can never be shielded from unfortunate events.

Now one mother is speaking out, adding her voice to the conversation, and her message is an important one.

In her Mama Mia article, Melissa Fenton implores: “Parents, I beg of you, stop blaming and shaming other parents.”

Melissa describes the accident that happened at the Disney Resort as “pure horror” and “sheer terror” and “an unforeseeable accident,” a particular point she emphasizes.

“You see, we now live in a time where accidents are not allowed happen. You heard me: Accidents, of any form, in any way, and at any time, well, they just don’t happen anymore.”

Melissa attributes this to our penchant for shaming and placing blame; we have become a nation of shamers and blamers, she says.

“I’ve had enough of scrolling through comment threads and seeing over and over again questions like, ‘Where were the parents?’ and thoughts like, ‘This is what happens when you don’t watch your kids.’”

For those people asking these questions, Melissa has a question: Have you been to a child’s funeral before? Because she has, and it is something you never want to experience.

The grieving family of the two-year-old boy who perished in Florida will fly back to Nebraska. They will get in touch with a funeral director, make arrangements for their son’s burial, pick out a tiny casket in which their boy will be laid to rest.

“At the funeral for this 2-year-old boy who died in front of his parents, can you do me a favor? Can you walk up to the mother and say the words that you just typed out last week? Can you? Can you greet her, hug her, shake the father’s hand, and then say, ‘Who was watching that little boy? You should have known better. I would never let that happen to my child.’

“Can you do that for me? I mean, you felt those words so deeply in your heart and soul that you typed them for a million people to read. Certainly you can say it straight to the faces of the people you meant it for, right?”

Melissa asks for these parents to put their pitchforks down and try to be compassionate instead.

"Try [saying] this," she says.

To the mother and father who went for a walk on vacation for the last time with their little boy yesterday, I am deeply sorry that you had to experience the worst kind of tragedy possible, an accident. I grieve with you. Your baby was my baby. Your son was my son. I have nothing but love for you, love to help you get though the pain yesterday, today, and for what is gonna seem like a thousand tomorrows. I wrap my thoughts and prayers around your aching heart and soul. May the God of this universe in some miraculous way bring peace to you and your family.

READ: Alligator drags two-year-old boy into the water at Disney resort

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Sinulat ni

James Martinez

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