A lifetime or two ago I attended a college with a visually challenged student. That student had a service dog to help her navigate the campus and life in general. I don't know if the dog was poorly trained, a dumb dog, or if the woman was a weak dog-handler, but that poor woman was pulled all directions but the one that was best for her. She was pulled into the side of parked cars, into snow banks, into on-coming pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Sometimes the dog would get tired of walking and would simply stop anywhere he pleased, while his owner stood helplessly by.
It really was a terrible thing to see. So a few of us stepped in to gently alert her about the dangers her dog was choosing. When we saw the dog heading off the sidewalk into a heavily wooded area, we let her know. We screamed when he was pulling her into traffic. We helped wipe her off when he would decide to plow through the deep snow even though the sidewalk was perfectly clear.
But, funny thing is, the woman wasn't so appreciative of our efforts. In fact, she became rude. Maybe it was fear or embarrassment or denial: I don't know. I do know that after we stopped helping her, we would see her in the middle of a snowy field standing helplessly while her dog took a nap. We would see her pulled abruptly off the sidewalk and into the road. And we shook our heads and walked on by.
I've got a precious child now. This child is socially passive and a "great fit" with other aggressive personalities. This child has been and continues to be bullied. My child's decisions are always impacted by the question, "How will the bullies respond if I do that? I don't want to make them angry." They make my child miserable at lunch. They threaten my child after school. They call my cell and demand that I make my child do what they want. They have pushed my child physically, emotionally, and socially.
Calls to their parents are pointless. "Oh well, children will be children," their moms answer.
We have pleaded with our child, fought with our child, laid down "the law" with our child, reasoned with our child, interceded for our child, prayed for our child, and been willing to do almost anything to help get our child out of the path of those bullies.
My child is still very much controlled by them.
I see now that like that poor woman with the rotten service dog, my child has to ultimately be the one who gets tired of being pulled off the path. My child has to be the one who says, "I'm sick of this. No more!!"
Until that happens, I can move the parked cars, remove the snowbanks, and stop the on-coming traffic, but how long will it take my precious, precious child to feel strong enough to let that miserable service dog go?