I believe that when we look for signs we find them. If we’re taught to look for evil, we will find traces of it everywhere. If we’re taught to look for beauty, then that is what we’ll find.
Are there people out there who have no place in humanity? Absolutely. But when we teach our children to be suspicious and afraid that is exactly what they’ll be. I don’t think that serves them well. We shouldn’t tell them to trust every stranger, but neither should we tell them every stranger is an axe murderer who should be treated as such until they are no longer a stranger.
Statistically, the worst crimes against children are committed by closely related family members, not by strangers. Yet we don’t teach them to be suspicious of their relatives. Nope, we actually instruct them to obey such people. Is that a smart thing to do? Am I saying we should teach our kids to welcome strangers with open arms, and look on every relative with suspicion because that is what the statistics clearly indicate is the safest path?
No, I am not!
Instead I think we must tell our children to listen to their gut instincts very carefully. If their gut tells them something is not as it should be, then they should listen to it and get out of there. Fast. Get away first, then tell someone who has already proven they are completely trustworthy, and worry about hurting the feeling of the one who raised the hair on the back of their necks later. But few of us do that. Nope, we teach our children the opposite. We teach them that they should NOT listen to their gut, to obey authority, to trust their relatives, and to distrust everyone else. We teach them a recipe for disaster, and tell them it’s is recipe for cake.
These are just my thoughts. They may seem substantially different from yours, at first glance. But in order to resolve such differences, we’d have to have many long discussions, only one would simply never do. And were we to have the opportunity for said discussions, we’d likely find we have much common ground – no matter how strange we seem to each other at first. Who knows, we might even learn to respect and trust each other. At the very least we’d no longer be strangers, we’d realize the sharpest axes we wield are words, and those would be very good realizations.
Trust is deserving when it has been earned, not when it has been demanded or instructed. Perhaps that lesson would benefit the children of everyone everywhere.