Fish Tale or Stranger Danger?

We recently returned from our vacation to the mountains. During our week in the mountains I took the children fishing on several occasions.

While my fishing skills leave much to be desired, apparently some of the fish wanted to escape the cold mountain water. So the kids each had an opportunity to reel in a fish.

We recycled the fish (threw them back in) because I didn’t want to clean and cook fish. Why go to all that trouble when we could walk over to the restaurant and order all the fish we wanted to eat that were already cleaned and cooked for us!

Of course, the kids were very excited about catching a fish and wanted to tell everyone they met about their fishing experience.

As we returned to the car after one of our fishing expeditions, Kenzie went up to every fishermen that we passed by and told them how she had caught a fish and it was this big (stretching her arms out wide).

It was, of course, the classic fish tale to the fishermen hearing her story and most of them played along despite the fact that she was interrupting their own fishing time.

When she would approach these other fishermen, she would excitedly explain that she caught a fish and their response was usually, “How big?”

Somehow the size of the fish grew each time she repeated her fish tale to the next fisherman.

Although their behavior was funny and quite cute, I’ve actually told you this fishing story to point out a concern I have about the children: talking to strangers.

There are no strangers to them!

They make no distinctions among people. They approach anybody and everybody: male, female, young, old, black, white, tall, short, fat, skinny, pretty, ugly, able-bodied, handicapped, normal, weird, friend, stranger.

It’s a good thing, I suppose that they don’t make distinctions among people based on their appearance. But, it’s also a potential problem at the same time.

The children are overly friendly and they will walk up to anybody and start talking to them. And I don’t know if that’s such a good behavior to exhibit at their age.

Sure, I want them to be friendly to people. But I want them to learn to be cautious, also. I want them to have appropriate filters for their behavior.

Kaleb walks up to any stranger coming near his personal space and strikes up a conversation with them, usually in the form of a series of annoying questions. “What’s your name?” “What are you doing here?” “Are you a mom (or dad)?” “Do you have kids?”

I read in a child behavior book that children should typically be a little shy around people they don’t know. So, besides being embarrassing, it concerns me that their “stranger danger” filter does not seem to be working properly.

And I really don’t know where they learned this behavior because I’m a naturally shy person. Don’t laugh. It’s true! Well, maybe just a tiny bit shy?

So, what do you think? Should I be concerned? Or should I just let them tell their fish tales to everyone they encounter?

Author: Steve

Enrich your Bible study by reading my devotions at http://StevesBibleMeditations.com. Read about my parenting adventures raising two young grandchildren at http://PoppysNewAdventure.com.

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