The Day El Came Home On His Own

I was reading my book in the room, when I heard El shouting, “open the door”. Thank goodness my bedroom door was open, if not I may not have heard him. When I looked out of the peephole, he was alone and I saw that he had climbed the gate to try to reach the doorbell. He was quite upset when I opened the door.

El and Gar had gone down earlier with their grandparents to play at our little estate. They were playing at the playground, and then the fitness corner. Apparently, Gar hit and pushed El, he lost his temper, and he ran away from them. His grandparents could not chase him in time.

Rare occasion when they are not fighting with each other

Rare occasion when they are not fighting with each other

I first thought that he was smart enough to come home on his own. He knew how to get home. My place is guarded and there are only about 600 households, mainly families. Many (older) children go down to play by themselves. I am not worried about safety, and there are occasions when I leave my door unlocked. However, it was only hours later, (my reaction time is pretty slow), then I realised the potential dangers.

The four-and-a-half-year-old had climbed up the gate, which had swung out, to try to press the doorbell. Right beside it would be a parapet, where there are no grills, and any slips would be disastrous. Thank goodness the doorbell was near the door, unlike the old doorbell that is near the parapet. I told him very sternly that he should not do that. His father demonstrated to him how climbing the gate was dangerous, which he had actually taught him not too long ago how to climb it to press the doorbell. Duh!

This is Singapore, and most parents are extremely concerned about their children’s safety. They keep an eye on them all the time. My parents were like that. I had never gone out with my friends until I was 12, and even then, it was only to a nearby coffee shop, just a few hundred metres away.

When I go to the playground with my children, I watch the younger one most of the time, because I know he will attempt some stunts and may just decide to jump off the from the spiral ladder.

There was a wave of fear not too long ago, when people posted on Facebook, how some strangers tried to snatch their children away. Hence, we generally keep a very close eye on our children. Even though our country has a very low crime rate, the police warn ‘low crime doesn’t mean no crime’. Even when I take El to the washroom and leave him outside the cubicles, I will constantly ask him questions to check that he is still there and has not run away. After all, we do hear of cases where criminals do unthinkable things to children in the washroom.

People I spoke to were divided on this issue. Friends were mainly worried about strangers snatching him away. Older relatives were totally shocked. However, I had one friend who is currently residing in Germany who said that if he knew his way, and it is a safe place, there should be no problem.

I feel we should teach children survival skills.

I feel we should let children gain independence.

I feel we should not molly-coddle them.

I feel we should teach them to protect themselves from danger.

My friend brought up a very good point, which should be the main point of discussion. The main thing here is how El should handle the situation, when his younger brother makes him angry. It is important to tell him that it is okay to be angry, but he should not take rash actions.

He was scolded by his grandparents for running away.

The bottom line is I should be glad that this overly cautious boy knows how to come home on his own. He should handle his emotions better, and not run off without telling anybody, because his current reckless nature has caused him to run into a railing which caused him to get six stitches on his forehead two days later.

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