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One Saturday morning I was sitting at my computer, working as my husband did yard work outside with all three boys. The front door opened and I heard little footsteps heading towards the kitchen. As I heard the fridge door open, my son yelled, “Mom, it is hot outside!” I left my desk and walked towards the kitchen. I was surprised to see one little boy that I didn’t know with my kids. I was a little embarrassed that I was still dressed in my pajamas but asked with a smile, “Hi. Who are you?” He told me his name and even spelled it. Not knowing him or his parents, I asked if he lived our neighborhood. He said he did. I then told the boys that if there was something that they needed, they could tell me and I would get it for them. I politely told the little boy that his Mom or Dad probably wouldn’t want him inside of a stranger’s house. The boys ran back to play outside and I couldn’t stop thinking about teaching children about stranger danger.
I was wondering if any moment now, I would hear the frantic knock on my door of a parent who had lost his or her child. Dreading it actually, since I was still in my pajamas. But the knock never came. There was no panicked adult pacing the streets. So where did this little boy come from and why didn’t anyone care that he was quick to go into a strange house with the promise of a cold drink?
Luckily, we are nice people. Our home is a safe place for a child to be. But this cannot be said for every house. Perhaps my husband spoke to the parents and they thought he looked fine and seemed to be trustworthy enough to leave their little boy with. Or maybe he plays by himself all the time and was happy to see my boys playing outside and eager to join them. When I finally had the chance to ask my husband, his answer was no. There was no sign of a parent looking out for a 7-year-old child who was riding a bike on a street with moderate traffic. This was the same child who played outside of our house for over an hour. He was never even checked on by his parents.