What would you do if you were on a pier with your wife and two kids and one of your kids were to FALL off the pier and into the water below?
This was the question my co-worker talked about the other day as he talked about being at the beach with his family, and on this A-mazing pier, but feeling fearful and anxious that one of his two young boys might FALL and that he would be helpless to do anything.
I’ve wondered that too in similar circumstances. We (back when it was the four of us) were on a boat going from Magic Kingdom to the Wilderness Lodge. The boys were around 4 and 2, and I asked myself what would I do if one of them fell overboard?
The boat was moving fast enough that they’d be quickly left behind. I knew I’d jump out to save him, no doubt. I didn’t think about drowning as an option. I imagined that I’d jump out, swim to him, save him and wait for the Disney boat to come back and get us. In my mind it was easy.
Another time, the four of us were at an airport catching a flight home. My youngest, around 4 at the time, followed his dad across the street, from the parking garage to the terminal, while my oldest and I had to pause a few yards behind them. A large monster-size truck didn’t see my son in the walkway and was about to run over him. I wanted with everything in me to run toward my child standing in front of the truck about to be hit, but in that split second I was also torn by having to leave my oldest son on the side of the road where I was or risk him running after me and into traffic as well. There was no time to think. I yelled STOP in the loudest and strongest voice I could, and the driver in the truck must have heard me because he stopped. Rescuing one meant abandoning the other and I couldn’t make that choice.
So what would I do if the pier example were to happen to us now, as just the three of us? Goodness, I have no earthly idea. To jump into the water at the end of a pier might mean certain death for us both, which leaves the surviving child at the top of the pier, who already has no father, with no brother and no mother. I couldn’t choose that for him anymore than I could choose to stand on the pier while my child has fallen below.