Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Is this the face of a Stranger?

I was sitting in a restaurant waiting for my food when a
little girl sitting in the next booth turned and looked at me.
She said, "Are you a stranger?".
I asked her if she knew me and she said, "no".
I said I must then be a stranger.
Her mama had told her not to talk to strangers, but
she wanted to talk to me. She was trying so hard
to figure out what a stranger looked like.

I have thought many times since then, how do we
teach our children to be safe, but still be able
to talk to strangers? I had gotten so I didn't
talk to strangers either and it narrowed my world.
Many of you I have not met, does that mean you
are a stranger to me? There are many people out there
that I want to know. Blogging has helped me to meet some
beautiful people and has opened my world. I find I am also
talking to people more at the market or when I am out and about.
For the most part I am finding people want to interact.
So how do we know who the stranger is?
And how do we teach our children to know, but still
be open to the people that have beautiful hearts?


Angela McRae said...

Cute photo, Marilyn! And what an interesting question from the little girl. I heard years ago that some people have "yes" faces and some people have "no" faces, and I suspect that little girl recognized yours as a "yes" face, and maybe that's why she couldn't quite make herself categorize you as "a stranger." Very interesting post!

Jeanne said...

Love and hugs
Love you

Linda J. said...

Very interesting post!! My daughter and I had a discussion about this subject recently. She is teaching "Stranger Danger" to her four year old and he refuses to speak to anyone except family and his personal very close friends.

Steph said...

Very nice photo! Yes, what a dilemma - how to keep kids safe and yet open. I don't have the answers, but the question is good!

Gayle @ Mountain Moma said...

This was a thought provoking post! One of my girl friends is so open with people and so loving, she never seems to meet a stranger. And of course they are open and respond to her as well. I wish I could be more that way. I tend to be naturally shy, although I've overcome it. So at times I pull in and don't talk as much to "strangers".

Rosemary said...

Great post - great story - great photo! It is a dilemna. My father will talk to anyone and everyone... and in doing so, he eventually finds a connection either through someone they both know or having lived in the same general area or something. It is a bit different for children. A difficult thing - but a lesson well learned, and yet meant to be unlearned.

Laurie said...

What a great post Marilyn, and love your picture! Especially now adays, it's so hard to teach children the dangers, and keep them safe. Where do we draw the line to protect them, yet allow them to be personable to those around them?

Caroline said...

Such a tough question! You never really tell these days. I always trust my gut...but kids are so open.

La Tea Dah said...

I don't know the answer for children --- but I know that as an adult I enjoy talking and interacting with those around me. The older I become, the more I enjoy it. :D

Your face is too friendly to be a stranger to anyone!

Celeste Maia said...

Great photo, Marilyn. You certainly donk look like a "stranger", meaning someone we tell our kids not to talk to strangers. But then so many of this abductors desguise themselves to look harmless and friendly. So what do we tell our children? Dont go with strangers. Yet, I like to talk with strangers, have had very good conversations with the person who sat next to me in an airplane or train. Wonderful conversations. And at the end of the trip we separate and I dont even know the person's name.

parTea lady said...

I like your photo. Great thought provoking post. Wish I knew the answer. My children are grown, but now I have to teach the grandchildren. Keeping them safe is certainly not easy.

Mary said...

Lovely pic of you.

My DH and I have yet to meet a stranger....especially with him being Irish!
We find this especially fun when traveling. Often people are loathe to intrude by starting a conversation - whereas we usually speak up and end up having such a good time! One occasion sticks in our memories. Eating dinner in a little restaurant in Florence, Italy, a lovely Japanese couple were at the next table and seemed lonely and awkward. We started talking, and altho' their English was far from fluent, we managed to share their reason for being there - 25th wedding anniv. trip, first time in Europe - that they were school teachers - and enjoyed looking at photos of their children. They seemed SO HAPPY that someone engaged them in conversation, and we said our goodbyes wishing them a wonderful trip - Paris was next, then London - feeling good.
This is how we travel and how we live each day I guess, talking to everyone, LOL! It's different for children, we feel they must be taught the rules when young to understand the consequences of going off with strangers. Later when they understand the ways of life, they must learn that they will need to allow some people into their circle in order to have friends and a full, happy life.
It's all so hard isn't it?

As for you sweet Marilyn - I already know we would not be strangers long if we have the good fortune to meet in person some day!

beth said...

what a great eye opening post....

I really don't treat anyone as a stranger and I guess I was lucky with my kids that even though while they were little we did the stranger danger teaching, they have grown up to love everyone and they give everyone a chance....

Relyn said...

I love this post. I've been thinking the same thoughts for a while now. I don't tell Sloane she can't talk to strangers. I tell her to be friendly and chat. Then you can turn a stranger into a friend. Of course, I also teach her to pay attention, be safe, and speak up if someone is making her uncomfortable.