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Stranger danger and little miss sunshine

When I was little, we’re talking three and four years old, I can remember playing in my front yard and talking over our 2 foot hedge to those walking by.  I would say “Hi, I’m Jessica.” I remember my mom being close, usually working on landscaping and probably keeping an eye on me…but “those were different times.”

Today, my Little Miss Sunshine, Mary, is taking after her mother.  We recently took a plane trip to visit my hometown – Sheboygan, Wisconsin.  Mary was friends with everyone in the airport. She waved and said hello to every as I strolled her through the terminal.  During the layover, she would go up to strangers and smile. She’s not afraid – but I certainly am.  I’m sure my mother was, too. The experience really made me stop and think about one of the big lessons in life that we will soon encounter.

It’s a little early for Mary to understand “Stranger Danger.” So for now it’s my responsibility to keep the balance between her safety and keeping a happy disposition. But in the years to come, if she’s anything like me, she’ll be saying “Hi, I’m Mary” which is going to keep me more on my toes. I want her to respectfully respond and greet people.  But we’ll have to teach her how to identify and trust her instincts about people and to not give too much information about herself. It’s a bridge crossing that is coming all too quickly!

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We have created this blog as a way to communicate key childrens' health and safety issues to parents and other child advocates. It is managed by Dayton Children's department of marketing communications. Comments can be sent to rodneyg@childrensdayton.org.