About two weeks ago, Tiarnan, six, was out
shopping with his mother, Syahidah, in Kuala Lumpur. Suddenly, he tugged at his
“Mummy,” he began, with concern in his
voice, “It is so sad!” He pointed at a young boy walking down the road, unaccompanied.
“Some children don’t have parents!”
Syahidah looked at the little boy on his
own. He was about seven years old, perhaps, maybe eight. He was walking down
the main shopping High Street, without an adult in sight.
“No, Tiarnan.”, she reassured, kneeling
down to him, “I am sure he has parents. Maybe he is going to see them now, in
one of the shops.”
Tiarnan looked long at the little boy
walking off on his own and wasn’t so sure. He seemed a little heartened,
though, to feel that, perhaps, his mummy was right.
Both my wife and I thought this a very
sweet indicator of the kinds of thoughts and feelings Tiarnan has. He was
actually sad, for a strange boy, he had never met, because he understood him to
lack parents. He felt for another, in this world. That is sweet, in itself.
Yet, we are well aware of how this perspective has come about. You see, Tiarnan
in all his six years, has never been left alone in public, without one or both
of his parents being present. So, his remark is a consequence of how we have
raised him. We have never exposed him to any risk in public. In a way he had a point:
where were the parents of that boy? He really shouldn’t have been left alone. We
wouldn’t leave any of our own children alone...so why had his parents?
Perhaps Tiarnan was not so wrong in his
perceptions, since that boy’s parents, if not non-existent, were certainly less
present than his own parents are, always. We wouldn’t take such risks with our
Anyway, it was sweet to hear Tiarnan care
so much for another child. It is a sign that he, himself, is likely to grow up
into a warm and caring individual...and that is certainly a good outcome, for
any wise parent.
Thank you Tiarnan, for your empathetic
A cultural note: there is quite a lot of crime in KL. There was a recent high profile case of the kidnapping of a 12 year old expat boy, in a wealthy area of KL. I would have expected, therefore, that parents would exercise more caution with the safety of their children, in public, than the parents of the boy Tiarnan saw, were doing.
Posted by Valentine Cawley
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Labels: a perspective on life, danger, In the eyes of a child, parenting, parenting styles, safety in public, Tiarnan Hasyl Cawley, Tiarnanism, viewpoint of a child on others