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Are There Lessons We Can Learn?

Posted by on Aug. 4, 2014 at 2:28 PM
  • 6 Replies

Missing 9-Year-Old Has 'Time of His Life' While His Parents Panic

by Jodi Meltzer

missing boySometimes I hear stories and break out in a cold sweat simply because I am a mom; the mere thought of being in the same situation makes me panic. Chris Villavicencio, a mildly autistic 9-year-old boy went missing in New York City on Saturday for two agonizingly long hours. 

Two hours on the streets of The Big Apple with crazy cab drivers whizzing by on every corner. Alone. Defenseless. Crying. Suffering. Wondering if he would ever find his way home. That poor little boy! And his parents … I can’t even imagine their horror. Turns out I only got half of this story right in my mind.

Chris' parents, Peruvian natives who do not speak English, did indeed freak out when their son got separated from them at the Central Park Zoo. They reported Chris missing within the hour and set law enforcement in action. Chris? Not so much. He told the Daily News he was “having the time of his life.

Such a typical kid response!

How many times have we watched our kids fall and they only burst out into tears when they see our terrified faces? We torment ourselves about all their firsts ... getting on the school bus, leaving them at a karate class, dropping them off at a friend's house ... don't we? And most of the time our kids show us there's no reason to fret. Their smiling faces, thrilled by an intoxicating flirtation with independence, quell the nervous butterflies wreaking havoc on our insides. 

What if we didn't live in that What if? mindset? I will fess up: I spend a great deal of time anticipating what could happen instead of trusting that things will be okay. My mind never shuts up. I am always worrying, always wondering. Does that make me a good mom to my son? I thought so ... until a little boy who went missing in New York City challenged my take on motherhood.

He made me remember how remarkable and resilient kids are; Chris didn’t go to the darkest place in his mind, he lived in the light. I know I would have reacted like Chris’ parents (actually, I would have been much worse) … but he really made me think. Changing perspective even slightly, to think about the possibility of a happy ending over being overwhelmed by terror, would have made those two hours go by much faster. 

Do you think there’s a lesson to be learned about how Chris handled his time as a missing child in New York City?

by on Aug. 4, 2014 at 2:28 PM
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by Gwen on Aug. 4, 2014 at 3:33 PM

Kids are more resiliant & capable than we sometimes think they are! Looking at things as an adventure definitely helps, too.

I do still remember the time I got lost on the Navy base in San Diego when I was 4, though. I think my younger sister & I were walking from a playground to the housing we were staying in & got lost. I don't think we were lost long, we found it with not help.  But I still remember how scared I was for a while (I've always had a timid personality - not sure that being lost would ever have been an adventure to me!).

When we were in NYC a little over a year ago, I wrote MOM and my cell phone # on the arm of each boy just in case.  They were 6 & 4 and I knew they didn't have our cell phone #s memorized.

by Bronze Member on Aug. 4, 2014 at 5:09 PM
A lesson? Yeah. Chris is really freaken lucky.

Jodi, don't change your outlook.
by Platinum Member on Aug. 4, 2014 at 6:50 PM
We (myself and two male leaders) just took 14 boys (mostly 11 yos) to scout camp. I know there were several "If mom knew what they were doing..." moments and the boys are home sharing them. For some of these youngsters it was their first time away from their parents for more than a night or with someone not family.

They had a blast! They were not the same boys who left home the week before! They had some huge accomplishments and their growth was amazing!
by Mikki on Aug. 4, 2014 at 7:01 PM

Many times I think it's the parents that freak out the most over the littlest thing and the kids are fine.

family in the van   Mom of four

by on Aug. 5, 2014 at 2:45 PM

That's the job of parenting - to worry and be cautios.  In our family, when we go on a trip mom and dad carry the heavy suitcases, and the kids carry little, lightweight bags.  Worrying is the same way.  The parents do the heavy lifting with worry, and kids only need to only be taught worry about that which they can handle. 

by Bronze Member on Aug. 5, 2014 at 8:16 PM

Um, no. A 9 yo missing in NYC is definitely reason to freak out.


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