Ice Lollies MeltingWe had some friends visiting us from New Zealand this weekend, with their newly adopted children. For reasons of confidentiality, I can’t say much, but if I could tell you their story, it would break your heart. Anyway, we decided to visit a local park before the whether broke and we encountered yet another April shower. My wife went on ahead to the swings and things with our daughter and two of the children while I played soccer with the older brother.

On arrival at the park, I was confronted with what looked like a situation that needed some intervention. My three-year-old daughter and her new friends where atop a climbing frame awaiting an opportunity to launch themselves down the slide. But their path was blocked by three older boys who were engaging my wife in conversation. My thoughts? Three selfish boys with attitude problems hogging the play equipment in a playground they were too old to be in and giving my wife some verbal grief. The reality? They’d been to the local shops, bought a bumper box of ice lollies and, rather than see them melt and go to waste, they were seeking the OK from my wife before offering the spare lollies to the children.

I’m sure there is a parable in their somewhere about judging others before you know the truth about them.

What’s more, when it started to rain, they ensured others had shelter from the storm before they did.

Our young people are much maligned these days, and their parents blamed for failing to reign in their anti-social behaviour. And I’d bought into the media hype and stereotyping attitudes.

Sure, they were boisterous. But so was I at their age. And yet before I knew anything about them, I’d got them heading for Borstal.

Lesson learned and lollies eaten!