Chick is NOT a stranger

We live in a world where everyone is a stranger. I understand the need and-or the option to talk, to smile at or be friendly to just anyone…or NOT. I know we need to be careful.
I happen to trust my gut on who to talk to…or maybe just to smile at a total stranger. We need to trust that intuition or gut instinct.
My husband and I don’t have children. We don’t eat out a lot because we like to cook & we simply enjoy a healthy dinner at home. I say this because we invited another couple to a night out for dinner and, well…it was anything but normal.
We met early. We ordered early, so there weren’t many patrons when we began eating & visiting. As we ate, we noticed one family after another, with children began walking through the door. At first this place didn’t seem so kid friendly. It was more of a a burger/bar…hole in the wall.
“Kid Karaoke Night!” How in the world did I miss that sign by the road in front of this place? I did. I missed it.
The place quickly filled with “Taylor Swift” wanna-be’s. Cute little girls with sweet printed dresses and their favorite cowgirl boots! Horrified, everyone else we were with was ready to leave.
“Since we don’t have that many children volunteering to sing at the moment, we are welcoming adults to get us started!” Turning to a table behind us, there was a family there with the book of songs in front of them.
Looking at two girls at about 9 years old, I ask to see the book. They pushed it to me. Glancing at the book, I ask them if they are going to sing. (Silence). “I’ll sing with one of you, if you want.”. (My eyes are turned to the book. I wasn’t even looking at either one, when asking, by the way.).
“Do you know any songs?”, as I flip through the book. “Stranger.” I looked up. “Excuse me?” She said,”Stranger!” I said, “I don’t know that song. Who sings that?” (Silence. They stare at each other.).
Wait. I look at the other 9 year old and say,”Oh. Wait. Is she saying that (louder) because I’m a stranger?!” Pursing their lips, they both say “Yes!”
I got up to go explain to the parents, who by the way, were seated at the same table, to explain.
Their mother got up from her chair and patted her children on their heads for doing *the right thing*!
Really? I said how saddened I was that as they were seated with their parents…and a simple turn of my chair…while they were right there, that I’m being humiliated for being friendly to them.
She congratulated them. I cried on the way home. What a sad state we are in that people cannot be “friendly”, while the parents are less than 24″ away from them.
I’ve received criticism since I don’t have children, for not understanding the parents point of view on this. I get that. What I don’t get is that IF the parents saw me as a threat from the beginning for talking to their children, WHY didn’t they speak up to me BEFORE…the kids said “STRANGER” to me…?!
Even when I tried to explain, the mom was so proud.
Here…having no evil intentions, I wonder. With computers, television & the disassociation with anyone these days, WHO is the bad guy and should I just remove myself from being nice…to any child…any where?!
God help us if everyone is a threat, even when the parent is practically sitting next to them?!
I love “my neighbor as myself”. I know not everyone is like that, but WHERE do you draw the line? WHO is ok to help socialize your children? I mean, I let most people touch my dogs in public. I am at arms length. I’m not screaming “STRANGER”! And they aren’t human beings, but I love them…as I would a child.

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8 comments

  1. How sad that they have taught their children to be that fearful. So sorry you had to endure that. When you would have been up there in front of everyone, it’s not like there would have been any danger!

  2. It is amazing how quickly your emotions can turn in one short story. As usual, reading your blog I was cracking up. Well all of a sudden I was mortified at the abrupt turn of the story. I feel for you, Summer, and I am dumbfounded at how things transpired. As you were grasping at straws waiting for a response the mom could have politely said that they have been taught not to talk to strangers. I think they need to lighten up a little. It is like you said they were only 2 feet away. What is becoming of our world?

    1. It didn’t make sense then and it still doesn’t make sense to me Cindy. I have an opinion. And just because I don’t have children, doesn’t mean I don’t “get it”.
      I do think that we, as a society, need to take caution around “strangers”. on the flip side, we can change our society by common courtesies. We also, an most importantly, should “love one another”.

    1. :/ It’s just a sad commentary of my attempt at being nice to strangers. I was taught that, as I was growing up with my family. I assumed the same for others…This was obviously not the case here.
      I do understand the need to protect our children; however, I was just shaken by the kids assumption that I was up to “no good”.
      My husband even tugged at my shirt when I tried to explain to the parents. He felt my efforts were futile. He was right.
      I’m praying this isn’t universal!

  3. Summer – I couldn’t resist checking out your website. I was appalled when I read this article, I raised 4 children and I would have been horrified if my children had behaved that way. Especially at age 9? By this age children should have been taught something other than fear of strangers, they should have been taught manners! As a parent you teach young children not to talk to strangers if they are alone or out playing in the yard, not to answer the door if a “grownup” is taking a shower and is unavailable, not to speak to strangers in cars that stop them on the street looking for a lost puppy or getting directions, but not to speak to a nice lady in a restaurant while seated at the table with their “grownups” is just rude. Instead of a pat on the head they should have received a pat on their butts.

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