This weekend, I took some time to do Cub Scout reading. The first part of the Cub Scout manual was about personal safety. I had no idea, what I was about to read. It was about how to talk to your child about strangers and how to teach them what to do in situations. I had THE talk with my son. (Nervous much)
We (meaning my wife and) spent the rest of the weekend asking random questions about what he would do in certain situations. He did well to tell you the truth. I didn’t really have any doubt about his performance.
Today, we as parents need to watch and teach our children about strangers. Not only the strangers on the street, but the people that we think we know next door or even in our home. When I was young this wasn’t as big of an issue. Excluding a few bad apples in the bunch, I had good childhood.
The meeting went very well. My wife had a long talk with my son about personal space. (Don’t kick your neighbor.) She also told him that he needs to pay attention and stay quiet. Later, I found out she had threatened to take his video game privileges away. (Personal note never get on my wife’s bad side or she will take things away.)
He did very well, almost making it through until the end of the meeting before he started squirming in his chair. I gave up in the end and let him run off with a couple of older scouts. They came over and invited him to play ball. He said, “Yes,” and with a nod from myself, ran off in search of the ball. I almost asked if they wanted one more, because I still feel a little like an outsider in the group of parents.
I miss the good old days of the play ground. When you are a child you can just run off and make friends. In the novel, Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, one of the characters had a name for these types of friends. He called them single use friends. The people that you meet in a doctor’s office have a good conversation and leave without asking their names. Later, you might think of that person and wonder why you didn’t ask them their name. You hit yourself in the head; I could have been having coffee with that person, right now! Darrel is the same way, later he will be at the park and relate the area with the person and wonder out loud.
“Where are my friends?”
“What friends Darrel?”
“The ones that where here last time,” answering the question with concern.
“They don’t live at the park, Darrel,” we tell him only to watch him go off and make more single use friends.
I sit in a crowd and still feel sad that I can’t make friends as easy as I used to, in turn it makes me happy that I see my son playing with two kids that he might because friends with, after all they go to the same meeting each week. Maybe, he will become best friends with one of these boys, or maybe they are just a single serve friend, but for now he is enjoying himself and is no longer thinking about video games and what will be on TV when he gets home.