Friday, February 8, 2013

Stranger Danger

"There are no such things as strangers, only friends we haven't met yet."  ~Unknown

My quite gregarious daughter struggles with the definition of a 'stranger.'  I was asked by a teacher once if Asha would go with a stranger if they had a puppy.  I laughed.  A stranger would not need a puppy, they would simply need to say, "Hi."  We've gone over it with her often, but it is often quite clear that she does not understand the parameters.

She came home from Kindergarten one day last year in Korea and began to tell me about the 'Stranger Danger' lesson that had been taught in class.  She told me all about how strangers don't always look like bad guys, that you should never take gifts or rides from a stranger, and that you should tell your parents or teacher if a stranger tries to talk to you.
I was elated!  Finally!  She gets it!

...or maybe not...

Two days later she was shopping with me outside the Osan Air Base gate.  I was standing just inside a shop door and she was a foot away from me on the outside of the open door.  While I was speaking with the shop owner, my daughter says to me, "Mom, I'm going to go say 'Hi' to this man."  She's pointing to someone just out of my view and turning to go.  "No, Honey."  She protests, "But he wants me to come over there."  I quickly grab her shoulder and turn her to face me.  "Honey, you don't talk to strangers without mom, right?"  She looks at me completely bewildered.  "But Mom, he's not a stranger!  Look!  He's smiling!"

The very scruffy looking old man with missing teeth sitting in the alley is not a stranger because he is smiling at her.

Recently, my daughter learned our phone number.  I was delighted because this could help her if she ever got lost.  She was delighted because she could tell her friends so they could call her.  I was not delighted to discover that she defines 'friends' as the two boys she just met at a McDonald's playground.

Oh, and on the way home from school today, she informed me that her "best song" (favorite song) is the Maybe song.  You know,
Hey, I just met you, And this is crazy,
But here's my number, So call me, maybe?