Friday, November 20, 2009

Offended Over Breakfast

We are on vacation in Colorado, visiting friends and family. This morning we went to the very well known “breakfast playground” in the Cherry Creek Mall. If you are from Denver you know what I’m talking about! My son was running around like crazy jumping over the giant bananas and sliding down strips of bacon. I was with him helping him make it up the massive bowl of shredded wheat. My hubby, being the amazing dad + photographer combo, was taking pics of the big climb.

Slowly two mall security guards walked up behind my husband and just stood there. They hovered near my husband for quite a long time. I started to get this frustrated and offended feeling inside me. I could tell they had their eyes on him thinking he was some creep taking pictures of kids. They finally broke the silence and asked him if he was with any of the kids there. My son and I walked over to assure them that my husband was indeed with us.

My gut response to all this was to be offended. As you can imagine, working for Love146 I read stories everyday about sexual abuse, exploitation and horror that children in our world face everyday. And here I am in the mall and MY HUSBAND is being approached like he is a perpetrator of such abuse and perversion!

Then, a slow second thought followed, “Wait Kellen! Isn’t this a good thing? Aren’t you willing to be personally offended or held suspect so that children can be protected?” After that thought my defenses dropped and I was thankful that someone was looking out for the children playing this morning.

So here’s my question: are you willing to be offended so that children can be protected? As a businessman traveling all around the world would you be willing to be suspected and questioned upon your arrival into a place like Cambodia about your intentions during your stay? Would you be willing to report suspicious activity or something you thought might be trafficking with the chance that you might offend an innocent person? Food for thought!


Jim Peterson said...

It is indeed worth being offended!

Anonymous said...

love it. and, yes, i'm willing to be offended in the name of safety and security for children. great post!
~georgeanne z.

Lina Heckenast said...

I would be offended for being thought as a sexual predator, yet happy to know someone is looking up for children.

Lisa said...

heck yes it's worth it.

and i'm not sure i would have been offended either.

aren't they just doing their job?

and if it was any other man, i would have WANTED them to ask him.

Celine O'Neal said...

That's a great insight! Thanks for sharing this.

chloeadele said...

excellent! and yes. sign me up to be inconvenienced as often as need be so that these little ones are protected.

i was at that exact mall just two weeks or so ago. we live sort of near it. reading this makes me feel a bit better about letting my own kiddos play there.

eachic said...

Everyone will probably think very badly of me for saying this, but it is one thing to be "thought badly of"....no sweat, with all of the ignorant people in the world, whether one realizes it or not, we are all thought badly of a lot more than we realize, but when people are wrongly arrested and lives ruined for someone's overly protective (and many times vengeful) stance, or when an 18 year old is imprisoned wrongly for getting his minor girlfriend of many years pregnant, these things I feel are just plain wrong and come as a result of people who accuse too quickly and judge when they have no right to judge. Personally, I am not a doormat and feel there is a accurate and professional code of ethics that must be strictly adhered to in all matters of our criminal justice system, not just the areas that affect children.

I'm sorry if my opinion offends anyone. It is not intended to, it is just meant to broaden the picture to see all sides.
Thank you for your insightful post, as it is only through bringing things to light that we can prevent more darkness in the areas we hold so dear.

kellen.kurtz said...

Great thoughts everyone!

Something that I think is important in the middle of it all is being willing to be offended but also always willing to have compassion. Sometimes, like Eachic said, the judgements we make can be wrong and we need to continue to look at the whole picture.

This sure does get your mind going and thinking, huh!??!

ThisThis said...

Actually, I disagree. Even if that person taking photographs of kids in a playground was a pedophile... they're not making porn, they're not taking a child and hurting them... all they are doing is taking photographs. I'm a photographer, I love taking photographs of children. Kids playing, naturally and unselfconsciously are some of the most gorgeous photographic subjects in the world. I'm worried that we're cultivating a culture where it's not ok to appreciate the beauty of any children in any sense because of the minority of people who abuse children. I'm lucky - I'm a woman, so I don't often get asked what I'm doing when I take photographs of children. I've learned to tell my male photography students to not even try it, though - and I think that's sad.

Before anyone decides to jump on me for saying so, though - yes, I do know what it's like to be a child on the other end of a pimps chain. I spent three years of my childhood that way. And I still think that prohibiting strangers from taking perfectly innocent photos of kids playing is wrong, and creates an environment where we all lose something beautiful from life.

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