I was doing some blog research and ran across this t-shirt. “I talk to strangers” is the message on the front. I like this t-shirt and it got me thinking. I know we’re supposed to teach this concept to our kids, but I haven’t done that. Do we really want to live in a society where we don’t get to know each other, where there’s no sense of community and where we have a fear of meeting people? We don’t talk to people and we wonder why loneliness creeps into our lives. Loneliness can lead to sadness, depression and even addiction. If you know anything about addictions, you know that people use them as an escape from reality. Sometimes in the past when I’ve been sad or depressed, I would shop. Yes, believe it, because I did. Society tells us that it’s okay, even good, to spend money on frivolous stuff that we don’t need and don’t have money for in the first place.
I put a different spin on this ‘strangers’ thing with my kids. I tell them to talk to strangers, but not strange people. What’s the difference? A guy in a car driving by and offering them some candy, now that’s strange, but a person that they meet at a store or just in daily life being friendly, maybe a stranger temporarily, but a possible friend. We’ve gone over all the scenarios of what not to do to get abducted, but I don’t want my kids living in fear that the one bad person in the thousands of people is going to harm them. I watch Criminal Minds and other similar TV shows, making it easy for me to think everyone is out to get us, but should we live in this type of fear?
I can teach my kids to be safe without teaching them to be secluded. One way, is to help them see that there are many good people in the world. I try to get them involved with me in local missions or take them places where they meet people. People that might be different than us. People that add value to our lives. The photo is from Church Under the Bridge in Waco, Texas. That’s Dedrick helping my son fix his shoe. Dedrick has some sort of mental disability, but is just the kindest man and greets everyone at the church. He wanted to lead worship, so they gave him a pink guitar (with two strings) and a mic (not hooked up with sound) and he leads worship. Yes, he’s smoking in the photo.
One may also think it’s crazy for me to think this way. I’ve been held at gunpoint twice in my life and I’ve had two stalkers, both needing police intervention. I still believe people are basically good. If I lived differently, I might have avoided these situations, but I might have also missed out on many good things and not met some really great people.
If you’re wondering how this ties in to no retail shopping, I guess it would be that there’s much more value in people than in material things. Maybe this is a good thing to teach my kids, or maybe it’s not, but it seems be helping in building character in my kids. And if you’ve spent any time at all with my kids, you know they’re characters! I think they get the difference between good strange and bad strange. Go say hi to a stranger today and see for yourself how it can add value to your life.