Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Due Recognition

It's a generational thing. Adults always complain about the selfishness and irresponsibility of kids. Most particularly do they claim that the teen-age years exemplify self-regard above all else. And while it is true that in those adult-formative years of hormonal change and awkward social interaction children poised on the cusp of emerging adulthood often make poor choices, this is also the way they learn, through experience.

And many children; teens and young adults, are not reckless, do heed the results of their experiences, while doing as children have done from time immemorial, shunting aside the advice given them continually by their elders. We do not learn, as a species, from others' errors, but from our own. And those who refuse to learn, simply ear-mark themselves for a life-time of no end to new beginnings.

What can you say about a young girl who while still a pre-teen, took it upon herself to take a babysitting course and a Red Cross safety course, and then acted as a responsible babysitter to children aged three and five in the absence of their parents? Well, you could possibly say that the teen-ager demonstrated far more intelligent awareness than did the parents who hired her at such a young age.

As it happened, Aaliyah Braybrook, who lives in Clairmont, Alberta, was babysitting two young boys, for their parents, in 2007. The boys' parents lived in a trailer owned by the boys' father. Beside the trailer in which they lived was another one, also owned by the children's grandfather. While the 12-year-old was babysitting a fire broke out in the home.

Aaliyah acted promptly and with eminently good sense by leading the two little boys and the family pet away from the burning home, and none suffered any injuries. At the time of the fire, later determined to have been set by the five-year-old, the young girl was applauded by firefighters as a hero. Two years later her hero status was revoked.

A $350,000 lawsuit involving the older couple who owned the two trailers was launched, naming their son, the father of the two little boys, and the young girl, now 14. Much publicity has ensued over this 'trifling' matter of naming a 14-year-old in a lawsuit claiming damages for a fire that could have been the death of three children.

The publicity, it would appear, has had an interesting effect on the lawsuit.

It has caused embarrassment to insurance companies which appear to be battling between them the little matter of liability and pay-outs. The insurance company representing the homes' owners thought it had a case for forcing the girl's father's insurance company to foot the bill, claiming the girl to have been 'negligent'.

The ensuring firestorm of airing this absurd scenario and the resulting public opinion has had its effect: The heroine of a house-fire that might have been truly disastrous in its outcome, is no longer named in the lawsuit.

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