One day a couple weeks ago we were driving home from our son’s soccer game and we were driving down our road and had to stop because there were three boys standing in the middle of the road waving us down. Now to make things worse, we live out on a country road. They were standing in a blind spot and if my husband didn’t see them in time….well, I would rather not think what could have happened.
So obviously we were stopped and my husband rolled his window down and asked them if they needed some kind of help. And these boys asked us if we could give them a ride. What?! We teach ours kids they should never get in the car of someone they don’t know unless we know about it. It was a really hot day and these kids were sweating. I had no idea how long they were walking or where they were walking from. There’s not much out our way. Houses are few and far between and I felt bad for them. The oldest looked to be only about 11 or 12 and the youngest looked to be about 8 or 9. We couldn’t just give them a ride to wherever they needed to go because a) we had no room and b) I just wasn’t very comfortable letting young kids just get in our car that we didn’t know.
So my husband asked them if there was anyone he could call for them to come and pick them up. Since we were coming back from a soccer game, we still had a few bottles of water left over in the small cooler we brought so I gave them some water. The youngest looked like he was about to overheat. After getting a hold of one of the kids’ parents to come and get them, we decided to pull over and wait with them in case something happened. We didn’t want to just leave them there especially on our road. The people that do live out here tend to fly down our road since it isn’t very traveled.
This situation is what prompted me to write this post. We don’t literally teach our kids “Stranger Danger” and this is a good example why. These kids needed help. It was very hot that day and they were out in the heat walking for whatever reason and apparently was getting to the point they just couldn’t anymore. The kid’s dad thanked us and as they were getting in the car he was asking them what in the world they were doing out there. They didn’t even live down our way.
So the whole reason we don’t teach our kids “Stranger Danger” is because there may be a time that they need to ask someone they don’t know for help. If they need help for whatever reason, I don’t want them to be afraid to ask for it. We teach them what to do in certain situations such as not getting into a car with someone they don’t know, not entering a house if they need to use a phone, someone who tries to get them to go somewhere with them, someone who tried to hurt them, someone who tries to give them candy, etc. They know that if the words “Stranger Danger” is mentioned when we are talking to them about this, they understand that we are referring to bad situations and how to be aware that something may not be right and not about strangers themselves or in general.
We started teaching them when they were really young about being aware and what to do in certain situations and when they were that young, we didn’t want them to think every single person they didn’t know was someone to be afraid of. There are people my husband and I know that they may not know. If we ran into someone somewhere, we didn’t want them to be afraid. When our kids started school, all their teachers and other kids were going to be strangers to them. We didn’t want them to be scared. There are going to be times that they need to ask someone for help and they need to be able to feel like they can do that.
That’s why we talked and still talk about bad situations or how to be aware in case of something turning into a bad situation and how to avoid them. Most kidnappings and inappropriate touching, violence, etc. happens by someone you know. Family, friends, neighbors. People you know. Not strangers. Obviously there are bad people out there that are strangers which is why we continue to teach our kids about these things but if something were to happen, it’s likely you know the person. And because of this, we explain to our kids that if anyone hurts them it’s wrong and they need to tell someone. Even if it’s family or someone else they know.
Be safe, be aware and be cautious when asking for help but don’t be afraid to ask for it.