She was just seventeen, French and weeping on my daughter's shoulder as she came out of the restaurant where we'd partied last night. "What's up?" I asked my little one, "Why's she crying?"
"What kind of friends do you have dad?" asked my daughter as she walked with the weeping girl to my car, her face filled with anger.
"Whoa! Whoa!" I cried, "Tell me what's wrong?" I looked at the French girl as she held my daughter tight. She was part of a group of ten boys and girls on an international exchange program conducted by a social club and were staying in different homes of club members. This girl had been housed alone for a day with an elderly gentleman who had failed to tell the organizers his wife was away.
My daughter stared at me her eyes blazing. "That uncle pawed her!" she said, "Took her out for lunch and wanted to keep holding her hand, took her to a pub and wanted to hug her!"
"Bring her home with us!" I said, "She can share your room!"
But the girl shook her head even as she looked terrified at the 'uncle' who was beckoning her, "She doesn't want to make a scene!" said my daughter.
"No," I said, "Let her share your room!"
I drove away with the girls in my car.
I am not writing this piece only for parents, nor to children to be on guard when they see an over indulgent 'uncle.'
I write to those so called, 'uncles' themselves.
All of us my dear 'uncles,' are created with raging hormones, without those instincts the human race would have come to an end centuries ago. It's this same sexual urge that has helped even the animal kingdom multiply, and we can see this at work as we glance out at dogs, and oh yes, the birds and the bees of course!
"But dear sir, the difference between you and me and the dog outside, between us and the lion or tiger is something called 'honor'"
Honor appeals to your integrity, your goodness, your decency. Honor's been given to you and me instead of the tail, animals have! It's when you exercise honor that these children learn the meaning of trust. It's when they learn to trust that they grow fully, wholly and completely into adults who inspire love into their children and not distrust.
A loving mother brings up loving kids.
And we need such children back, in a world of hate and violence!
So, there is a responsibility resting on you my dear 'uncle'!
Now if you don’t get this, then I be meanin' to fix small tail behind yer' back, so your ‘nieces’ be knowin' you is an animal not an uncle..!
Robert Clements is a newspaper columnist and author. He blogs at www.bobsbanter.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org