What Have We Done to Our Kids?

The good news is that the 11-year old scout who was lost in the woods for four days was found and is just fine. It sounds like he used pretty good judgment for a young boy and apparently kept his wits about him. But one thing troubles me.

The boy said he frequently saw men on ATVs and horses while he was wandering the woods alone, but he hid from them for fear of being stolen. In other words, he might have been found, likely would have been found, days earlier if he had run to a rescuer rather than hiding from them. Further, a typical rescue team uses search techniques which assume the person wants to be found. They don’t conduct a search like a fugitive manhunt when looking for a little boy who’s lost.

I can’t really fault the kid here. His parents told him not to talk to strangers, and instilled in him a fear of being snatched. He did what they said. In a different environment, those would have been tactics which might have saved his life. But in this one, those tactics could have easily cost him his life. And at 11, I doubt he was mature enough to make good choices about when to hide from and when to run to strangers.

I’m glad he’s okay. But it does make me think twice about trying to balance the lessons I instill in my children.

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