We all do it. We question ourselves. We think we’re overreacting. Overprotective. Crazy, even. But we’re not.
Should I let him ride his skateboard down that hill? Well, he has a helmet on. He’s got his pads on. He will probably fall. Maybe he can do it. I should let him do it and see what happens.
There is a twitch in our gut that tells us something isn’t quite right. Maybe it’s a simple thing like skateboarding down a hill. Maybe it’s something more daunting, like walking home from summer camp alone. We question that feeling – it’s so fleeting – and yet, so powerful. Am I right? Am I going overboard? Am I paranoid? I’m paranoid, right?
It’s easy to squelch that feeling, especially when we’re busy, or caught up in our own thoughts. Sometimes I’ve said yes to something my kids have asked for and then two seconds later I snap out of my revery and realize, no I don’t want them to watch Ben 10, again. The answer becomes no.
This week, Leiby Kletzy, a nine year-old boy, was kidnapped and murdered by a
monster a man named Levi Aron. Leiby was walking home alone from summer camp through his tight-knit Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn. This was the first time Leiby had walked alone in the city by himself. This is where the gut instinct comes in.
Leiby’s parents walked the route from summer camp with him. He had a specific meeting point where he was to join his mom. It was a short walk through a safe neighborhood. The Kletzy parents did everything right. Leiby did everything as instructed. But he got lost. Or confused. And this is where the best laid plans went wrong. He met a real-life monster, Levi Aron, who took advantage of the situation.
I can’t stop thinking about the horror and fear that this boy must have felt in his last hours. And, his parents. How they must hurt.
I pray for Leiby. I pray for his parents. I will remember this lesson. I hope you will too:
Never second guess your gut instinct. If you need to rehearse a walk home from camp, it’s probably not the right thing to do. You can make a perfect plan in a safe neighborhood, and there are still monsters along the way.
It’s our job to remember that there are real-life monsters – pedophiles, murderers. There are no borders that keep these evil and sick people away from our children. We are the border.