― Arthur Conan Doyle
Something very out of the ordinary caught my eye while walking home this morning.
Police were gathered around a car.
I’ve seen police gather around cars before, but never like this.
This time, bystanders were allowed to be near the car. That means they weren’t concerned about a bomb.
As I got to the car, I saw what the concern was.
In the back seat, there was a car seat that was completely covered by a baby blanket.
No one was sure whether or not there was a baby under this blanket.
Police had someone come with tools to open the car.
They got the car opened and checked the car seat, only to discover that it was empty.
Everyone was relieved.
Everyone except one of the police officers.
He started doubting whether he made the correct move in calling for the car to be opened.
This got me to think about how we think and how we parent.
When we make a decision, we can only base it upon the information we have at that moment. We should not let hindsight dictate whether or not our decision was the right decision. We should also not let hindsight dictate whether we criticize our children for their decision.
There is the famous story about the boy who cries wolf. The people all believe him the first time, a few believe him the second time, and no one believes him thereafter.
This applies to our own decision making process. Imagine that this police officer is yet again presented with an identical scenario, and once again he calls for the car to be opened and there is no child inside. Do you think he will call for someone to open the car if this situation presents itself a third time? Would you make the call if the previous two times there was no baby inside?
Rather than judging whether we made the correct choice based upon the result, we need to judge based upon the information given to us at the time.
If we judge, and if we get our children to judge, based upon the available information at the time, there will be no hesitation as to whether to take action.
This is extremely difficult, especially as we live in a results based world. But in order to give ourselves and our children the tools to make smart decisions, we need to help them with their decision making process. One of the ways to do this is by helping them realize that we judge our decisions based upon what we knew at the time and not by what we learned thereafter.
Yisroel Picker is a Social Worker who lives in Jerusalem. He has a private practice which specializes in working with people of all ages helping them understand their own thought processes, enabling them to improve their level of functioning, awareness, social skills and more.
To speak with Yisroel about speaking at a child safety event or to discuss a personal case, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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