What parents can learn from France's real Spider-Man

Kinderling News & Features

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Just like most episodes of Spider-man, there’s a lot to love about the story of Mamoudou Gassama and the four-year-old boy he rescued from a four-storey Paris balcony. 

Once you get over the horror of watching the footage, of course.

In case you missed the original report, 22-year-old Malian migrant, Mamoudaou  AKA “Spider-man” dropped everything to scale four floors up a north Paris balcony to save the boy who was dangling from an open window of his family's apartment.

According to the BBC, the four-year-old boy was in the care of his father at the time of the accident. Apparently, his father had left the boy alone in the apartment, with a window open, to go shopping, before the terrible event occurred.

Mamoudou told reporters:  

"I saw all these people shouting, and cars sounding their horns. I climbed up like that and, thank God, I saved the child…I felt afraid when I saved the child... [when] we went into the living room, I started to shake, I could hardly stand up, I had to sit down."

An exceptional act

French President Emmanuel Macron described Mamoudou’s bravery as an "exceptional act".

"You saved a child. Without you, no one knows what would have become of him. You need courage and the capability to do that,” Mr Macron said as he handed him a certificate and award for bravery.

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And justice for all…

Thanks to Mamoudo, the four-year-old boy remains un-harmed and now in safe care. According to the Chief Paris prosecutor, François Molins, his father has been charged with “failure to meet parental obligations” and could face two years in jail.

While the hero of the story, Mamoudou has been granted French citizenship, and according to the BBC, a job with the city’s fire department to boot.

The take home message

As parents we're all bound to have a near-miss moment (or several) with our kids, that fill us with dread.  Stories like this are a great reminder to kid-proof everything in sight, and of course, to avoid leaving our child completely alone, at all costs! 

But there's also another message to share about human capacity and courage, and it's perfectly summed up by in this quote from @believeseriez on Instagram: 

"Never stop believing in yourself. Success isn't just about your skills but how confident you feel about your abilities and the intrinsic belief that you are capable of handling the challenge and achieve success no matter the obstacle... BELIEVE."