Twice in one week I had a child (2 different children) inform me that someone was stalking them.
"Stalking us," that was the exact phrase.
In the first case, at Gymnastics Camp, on that beautiful day when we went outside and spray-tie-dyed T-shirts, a girl, a 9-year-old, I think, sidled up to me and spoke low, out of the corner of her mouth, "There's a stalker over there."
She: "There's a stalker over there. That lady is stalking us."
She: "Over there, in the window. That lady is looking at us. She's stalking us."
OK, seriously, who taught this little girl that no adult is allowed to LOOK OUT HIS/HER OWN OFFICE WINDOW at a bunch a rowdy children who have appeared on the lawn unexpectedly without being accused of stalking?
|This is what we were up to - in case the stalker wanted to know|
Can you imagine if I had stomped up to the window and hollered, "KEEP YOUR EYES ON YOUR DESK! STOP STALKING THESE YOUNG'UNS!?"
Later that same week, my daughter was hanging out with a couple of friends, and one of the friends reported to me that a lady was "totally stalking us."
Me: "What? Who was stalking you?"
She: "A lady. She was stalking us."
Me: "What do you mean, stalking? What did she do?"
She: "She was looking at us."
That's all. A trio of giggly girls caught her attention, and she...the nerve of her!...LOOKED at them. She didn't keep looking. She didn't follow them. She just looked at them.
I know it is hard to balance, to teach discernment. It's easier to teach a child that no one has the right to look at you, everyone is a danger to you. It's easier to raise children to be fearful, untrusting, always scared, but, hey, at least they are safe.
Please, while we teach our children to take care, let's also teach them that adults who look at them are almost always NOT the Bogeyman.