Some of us may be old enough to remember the Robot alerting the young Will Robinson to the peril of the week on Lost in Space. Such dramatic warnings are not evident in our everyday life. We are, however, silently blasted by alerts of varying alarm. Electrical devices and appliances all have warnings attached. Our medicines all carry warnings lest litigation is pursued. Leave your home and you might see Beware of Dog signs affixed to fences or gates. Get into your car and you see those lovely yellow signs alerting you to pedestrian crossings, curves in the roadway, numerous situations where caution is urged. Signs in red speak to truly hazardous possibilities on the street. Enter a building and caution is urged because of slippery floors. Signs on doors identify restricted areas. It’s amazing that Stan Berenstain’s Little Bear character was able to say I went to town, not, I’m never going anywhere ever again!
Recently my wife and I went out west and toured through Arizona and Utah, experiencing the wonders of the US National Parks at the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Zion. The park rangers hand out cards that urge you to
- Please follow directions from park rangers – it will be for your safety.
- Always remember that wildlife is just that – wild. If an animal feels cornered or trapped, it will protect itself.
- If you’re heading off for a walk tell a family member of your timings and location.
- If you are threatened by wildlife – stay calm; keep eye contact; back away; and do not run.
These safety alerts further state: Sometimes the best relationship is a long-distance relationship offering suggestions as to appropriate distances to stay from the animal inhabitants of the parks. There are no yellow or red signs to remind you.
For those of you who read our blogs and have seen our school presentations, the melding of these park ranger statements with our stranger safety message is close to 100%. Almost all the above (we, of course, urge any child in a situation with an aggressive or threatening stranger to RUN) can be adapted to our teaching points. Our goal is to empower a child in that particular, singular event when the child finds himself or herself ALONE and feels threatened. We want every child to be able to recall words or phrases that flash yellow warning lights in their brains or red flashing lights accompanied with siren sounds that prompt their bodies’ flight or fight response to the stress of a given situation.
Good teaching never ends. There are always teachable moments. Here are a few to stress about stranger safety awareness.
- No matter how harmless a person appears, you cannot predict what they will do.
- If the person changes their behavior as they approach you or seem nervous, stay very far away.
- Don’t be fooled by flattery.
- Do not pose for any pictures with a stranger.
- Never approach a stranger.
- Give a stranger space.
Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them. These words of the Dalai Lama are timeless. Would that his message seep into the hearts and souls of those among us who do otherwise to children.