August 31, 2010

This morning I was painting a house. (Yes I do, my rates are reasonable -for me- I do great work, and am meticulous.)   Back to my story; this morning I was painting a house and 12-15 preschoolers walked by with their grownups.  One little girl waved and yelled out a big cheerful. “Hi!” which I returned in an equally cheerful, albeit lower, voice.  As I was saying hi, one of the “grown-ups” said, loud enough for me to hear, “don’t talk to strangers!”

So the rest of the line of kids, who were just about to holler out “Hi’s!” of their own shut down.  I got one hand in the air wave, two hand half-way- up waves, and a hand wiggle or two.

Such an evil world we live in that we can’t say hi to a painter without fear.  What was I going to do, chase them with my roller?  Spatter them?  I would have understood if the teacher/leader had said, “Don’t talk to strange looking men.  The day before a nanny type person walked by with 5 kids; she and all five kids said hi.  Now they are all in mortal danger.

Oh, well…. Lets just be nice, shall we!  Teach our kids to be nice to people when they are in a safe environment, with you or another adult who will protect them, but don’t go with strangers.  We teach our kids that cars are safe to sit in, especially with those cool kid seats, but not safe to stand in front of.  Cars do wonderful things, but we need to respect them and not run in front of them when they come down the road.  The same thing with strangers, with or without paint rollers; be nice, be respectful, but be careful.

On the other hand when I am a part of a ministry to children, I may appear overly cautious, because most churches make good “hunting grounds” for predators.  Also because I am responsible for other peoples kids.  So was the nice lady telling the child not to talk to strangers.

Maybe I’m changing sides here.

Tell me what you think.  Are we too paranoid when it comes to stranger danger, or not careful enough.  I know am safe, but not everyone else does, so maybe the caution was correctly given.  I’d like some feedback on this topic.

How do we raise kids who are nice?  How do we raise friendly children?  And if they are nice and friendly, can we keep them safe?  I really want to hear from you, and I promise absolutely no free prizes to the first five responders, and I will not sell your secret information to anyone else.  But I do want to hear from you.

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One Response to “”

  1. Sue said

    The first poster I ever saw in a church sunday school classroom was of a father riding a bike with two children riding right behind him. The caption was “Lead by Example”. I believe that teaching, talking, writing, communicating is a part of raising kind and generous children. The most important part, in my mind, is to be a model of what you want your children to be. Or as the quote says, “BE THE CHANGE.” : )

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