Sometimes we just need help

A terrible crime occurred in the small Canadian city where I live. There isn’t all that much crime here so when something like this happens it tends to make the news, but this story is particularly appalling. A five year old girl was stabbed multiple times in her home in the wee hours of the morning. Who would attack a peaceful home and stab an innocent girl at that hour?
Of all people, the police charged her father with the crime. Now, this is just a charge and he is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, but if he is indeed guilty, he should be punished to the full extent of the law.
It is easy to sit in judgement of others and claim with righteous certitude that we would never stoop to such depravity. It is easy to do it because it’s most likely true. We really wouldn’t have stooped to such a heinous act. But if any parent tells you that they have never felt helpless and overwhelmed by the challenge of parenting, they would be lying.
If the children were up all night crying and if you need to be up in thirty minutes to go to work and you just put the baby down in his crib and you try to catch a short nap, when the five year old girl bursts into your bedroom demanding to be given her cereal that very instant, it can definitely be a trying morning. It doesn’t justify what this parent allegedly did and again, he ought to be punished if found guilty, but it does give it context that we can relate to.
On the radio this afternoon a caller made an important point that I feel the need to highlight. Parents, we will be surprised by what sleep deprivation can do. This doesn’t justify stabbing a child, but we shouldn’t shake this off without taking a lesson. Let’s realize that we are all at risk of flying off the handle when we are stretched beyond our limit. We are not likely to react in so heinous a way, but we can certainly impact our children negatively if we don’t call for help.
If you are sleep deprived and your children are in constant need and you feel stretched beyond your limit, don’t keep trying. Call a friend or family member and get relief. You need to settle down, get some rest and regain perspective. You need to rejuvenate and there is nothing wrong with asking for help.
We have no idea what happened in this case, but if it began with sleep deprivation, it could have been prevented.  Life’s little lesson here is simple. Don’t be a hero. Go get help.
I thank the anonymous caller on the radio for bringing this perspective to my attention.