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Teach Your Children Well

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I was looking at the magazine rack in Walden Books, Northgate Mall around 1983.

My mother didn't take us to the mall much, she didn't like going, but when we did she would let me hang out at the bookstore when I was not needed for fitting. I was ten years old and hated shopping, but loved the bookstore.

That fateful day a man in his thirties or forties approached me and said:

“Hey – your mom sent me to come get you. She needs you to meet her outside.”

I knew right away he was lying. My dad hold told me someone might say this, and if they tried to grab me what vital spots to target. I only had a pencil with me, but that would do just fine. I grasped the pencil and pulled it out of my pocket never leaving eye contact with him. Then I started to back away. My plan was this: if he tried to grab me the pencil was going in his eye. If he didn't I would run to mom. Once I was about six feet away I ran. I found mom just a few minutes later and everything was fine in my mind.

Astoundingly, I didn't tell her.

Not for almost thirty years.

It just didn't occur to me. In hindsight I wish I had told her right away so they could have maybe caught the guy. Maybe he did that to other kids. He didn't do it to me though.

I've spent time with each of my children teaching them the basics of how to handle that kind of situation. We drill it. Self defense need not be difficult for a kid, basics of biting, kicking and screaming are easy to teach. Who you should trust in those situations and who you shouldn't.

I don't give out a lot of unsolicited advice – but I will say this: Parents throughout nature teach their young how to resist, evade and escape. Do the same for your kids as well.

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