parents

In Melody's Own Words: "Stranger Danger" Hits Close To Home

The following is reprinted with the permission of Melody Townsel and presented as a reminder for parents to talk to their children about how to react when approached by strangers.1
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CRIMEWATCH! Today, Stranger Danger Hit Home!

by Melody Townsel. Originally posted on DailyKos on Wed Feb 20, 2008 at 02:59:39 PM EST.


Hello, all:

Today, my tiny family of two got an up-close-and-personal look at stranger danger -- and I can't help but think that our story is worth a reminder to all of you who are parents.

This morning, my daughter and I awoke in great moods, getting ourselves around and ready to cover the five miles between here and Reunion Arena to go and see Barack Obama. As we were preparing to leave, a friend called, and while I was on the phone, my eight-year-old, Sadie, went out to the sidewalk in front of our house to bounce her new yellow ball.

Five minutes. That's all the time that lapsed while I chatted briefly with a friend.

Five minutes.

Loss Of Innocence: Children, Strangers, Sickness and Death

It's now an hour into the new day.

I am still up, although soon to retire for the evening. My last online task tonight is to provide a comment, a reference and a reprint for parents, uncles and aunts everywhere.

Today, a very scary event occurred in the life of Melody Townsel, a blogger at DailyKos and a mother. She relates it here; I've asked her to crosspost it and offered to do so for her if she wishes. If she is gracious enough to provide it or permit it, I will then front page her piece -- it is that important.

The event that occurred will raise the hackles and form a ball of nausea in the pit of anyone's stomach.

A stranger approached her young daughter in front of their house today, and sought to entice the little girl to accompany him in search of "his lost dog." The child had the presence of mind to go inside and tell her mother that she was going to help find the man's dog.

Go read the story. Hug your own children; look in on them if they are already asleep, and kiss them gently on the head.

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This story would have had a strong impact on me if it was any other day. Time-wise, "today" has become "tomorrow" -- but for me it's still "today," February 20th.

Today, the story hit me even harder.

February 20th is the anniversary of the death of a young nephew, two days before his second birthday. He died in 2003 from an undiagnosed viral infection.

The loss of a child is difficult -- horrible, in and of itself, regardless of reason. Losing the child to an unknown disease, unexpectedly, sucks massively more. I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to lose a child to a predator.

I don't want to.

I tried to fathom it and failed. I can't try again, and I never wish to know.

Melody must be still be freaking, and yet thankful that her child came in to tell her what was going on. I'm thankful for that, too.

Please read her story. We'll bring it to folks here, too, as soon as it's possible. Regardless, share the story with your friends and family, and let them know that they ~must~ talk to their children about strangers -- help them, if necessary, if they have trouble explaining.

It's too important not to.