Children are awesome

My scooter stopped today, while I was out with the Lad. Just … stopped. No lights, no fuel indicator lights, no beepability, brakes locked on. “Bother”[1], thought I, “that’s going to be a right pain in the buttocks”.

There were a few people in eyeshot, though not in close range. Three primary school aged children ran over from a distance, offering to help. “What happened?”, they asked, “Can we help?”

They swarmed over the machine, checking the key, lights, brake lock, all the other gadgets and widgets. Eventually one, who said he had a relative who was a mechanic, found the circuit breaker had triggered, and flicked it back on. All was working again. He went to pains to explain to me what had happened and how to fix it should it happen again.

“Can I have a ride?”, another boy tried. “I’m sorry, I wish I could give people rides – you have to be disabled to ride one of these.”

“Do you need a driver’s licence?” “No, you don’t.”

“So if I got disabled, would I get one?” “You might, or you might get a manual wheelchair, or a power wheelchair, or something else – it depends on the disability, and on other things.” “COOOOOOL!”

I thanked them for their willingness to help, congratulated the kid who fixed it on his mechanical skills, and went on my way.

Without kids in public spaces, without kids who spoke to strangers, without kids who saw themselves as part of the world, I’d probably still be sitting there in the chill wind and setting sun, waiting for the RAC.

The only adult stranger who spoke to me on this outing? Was a mustachioed bloke who wagged his fucking finger at me and cautioned me “Don’t you speed!” as I crawled past his group of people on the sidewalk, having slowed to less than walking speed lest one of them obliviously make a sudden movement.

I’ll take the children, thanks.

[1] This may be slightly edited. The Lad told me off for the word I did say.



Categories: Miscellaneous

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22 replies

  1. Yay for curiosity, know-how and friendliness.

  2. I’m so glad to have read this today, since I’ve just read through a child-hating thread’o’doom. Thanks.

  3. Extra comments on my experience today:
    I especially liked that they didn’t quiz me on why I’m disabled, and that the kid volunteered, in a matter-of-fact way, that he could acquire a disability one day, and if he did, he would get (COOL!) equipment to deal with it.
    The kids were all “Cool! How fast does it go? Does it go FAST! What’s it like? Is it fun to drive?” while the older bloke was all “Blah blah nag fingerwag you dangerous crip chicks you, watch yourself.”
    The boys wanted to know what it was like to be me, and they imagined themselves in my shoes (or wheels). The man? Was only interested in me to the extent that I was a possible hazard to his bipedal life.
    He was othering me; they were identifying with me.
    I’ve got all kinds of warm fuzzies about the future, today.

  4. I don’t think anyone was saying kids should be banned from the public! Only that it’s okay to have adult only spaces.

  5. Donna, you appear to be referring to a discussion taking place somewhere else? Consider that not everyone reading here might have the faintest idea of that discussion even existing.

  6. Oh how beautiful! Having just come back from South America for 2 months, where children are everywhere and ‘stranger danger’ isn’t an obsessed about notion; it’s nice to read that we haven’t completely robbed our children of their natural curiousity.

  7. Just when you think it’s all going to hell some kids come along and make you hopeful again. Yay for kids who are curious and interested and who pick up the most unusual, but very helpful, bits of knowledge.

  8. Thanks so much for this. Just the kind of cheering stuff needed on such a chilly morning.

  9. I am glad you re-posted this one here. Lovely counter-argument to the hatred on certain threads elsewhere.

  10. I think kids roaming the streets in packs makes the world a better place in so many ways. I’m so happy you ran into some that are allowed to be out and about and involved.

  11. Yes, what Bluemilk said!
    Reminds me, too, of how a lot of people get VERY uptight about teenagers – scary people, especially the boys in hoodies! Sometime in the last few years I stopped going “??!” when I see a huddle of teenagers on the railway platform and started going “Awwwww!”

  12. Awesome! I hope my two lads turn out the same way! What a great experience.

  13. I hope my guys will become those kids, not afraid of everyone and willing to help. Thanks for sharing

  14. Good for those kids for offering to help and good for that relative who took time to invest in the child’s life who was able to fix your ride!

  15. Congrats! It’s so GOOD to hear *positive* stories about kids interacting with adults on a real level, without parents saying ‘DO NOT TALK TO THAT PERSON THEY ARE A STRANGER!’- and you’ve been featured (thanks to the wonders of Twitter) on the Free Range Parents blog- http://freerangekids.wordpress.com/

  16. This story makes me smile. My boys (4 + 6) are always asking me when I’m going to buy one (I don’t need one but they like wheels…). People loose their ‘childish’ curiosity and that’s so sad.

  17. Thank you for this – there is so much whinging and whining about children/ young people/ old people/ women (you get the drift) that it really made my day to read about the response you got from this pack of kids. As well as the pleasure it gave you, which was so well expressed — of course I also celebrated the fact you got going again.

  18. That’s so great! It’s sad how wary we’re teaching children to be of strangers. Going with a stranger—-bad. Helping a stranger in a public spot with lots of adults close by—good. So sad that no adults offered to help!

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