Spiders, needles, clowns – oh my! Do you have a phobia? And the bigger question is, “if you don’t, does that mean you are not deep?”
We’ve drummed into our children the importance of not speaking to strangers and of course it is for their own good. Some parents feed a phobia by drawing the line way too deeply in the sand, while others attempt to clarify the warning: “When we are not around, don’t talk to strangers. But when we are there with you, smile your heads off.” We are strong believers in the “Be ye kind one to another” Bible verse. And it has paid off again and again.
Studying about the people in the world was not enough for the Hirn family. We were intent on getting to know them, understanding their strengths and weaknesses, encouraging them in their struggles, sharing their laughs and, on a rare occasion, their disdain. Some people refuse to take a chance to get to know somebody just on the chance of rejection. And yes, that happens. But it should only sting for a moment. Friendships last much longer.
When we were in China, we realized how utterly foolish it had been for us to have fear of being the free American in a Communist country. We had grown to realize the face of communism was ugly years ago, but we also learned very early on that the faces within the Communistic community, were wonderful. The Chinese people were among the most gracious in the world. Love and acceptance for our strange American family with three sons, seemed to pour from their smiles and radiate through their eyes, THREE sons! In a country with a one-child policy, our double-edged, eye-lidded family was an oddity.
Phobias are not exclusively imposed by adults onto children; But it stands to reason a strong fear is likely to rub off from a parent to a child. “Don’t talk to strangers” is still a good rule for any child who is ever alone; but, when you are with them, interacting with others seems safe enough. Build’s confidence, no doubt.
As you know, “engagement” is a vital component to “adventure.” A catapult, actually! And what is a good “Pult” without a hearty “Cata”? They go together. Otherwise your adventure is just your version of your story.
My mom always told me to do my best, and talking to strangers is one of those things! Do I embarrass my family from time to time? Of course! Not everyone is open to my style of ‘meet and greet’. But there is usually a great payoff with the ones who are! And my strange habits of congeniality seem to have rubbed off on my family. Not a bad thing, really.
Have a great weekend.