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Teach your children that sometimes it's OK to trust strangers
Arianne Brown writes about a lesson she learned when she saw a young boy walking to school by himself. She realized that she needed to teach her kids that it's OK to trust strangers sometimes. - photo by Arianne Brown
It was a cold, below-freezing December morning and I was driving my seventh-grader to school. As I rounded the corner, I saw a boy who was running on the path to school while carrying a heavy backpack. I looked again and noticed that he had a light jacket on and wasnt wearing gloves.

We were over 2 miles from the school, and I asked my son if he thought we should pick the boy up.

I dont know him, mom, he said. Even if you did stop, I dont think hed get in because youre a stranger.

I figured he was right and continued to drive to the school without another thought of the boy we just passed.

That is until on the drive home when I saw him again. This time, he wasn't running but walking all while shivering not far from where we had seen him minutes before.

As I got closer to where he was, I thought about what I should do. After all, I was a stranger. I thought about his parents and if they would be upset with a stranger offering a ride to their child. I then wondered if I would be upset if my child accepted a ride from a stranger.

That thought made my answer clear.

I quickly did a U-turn, pulled up close to the boy and asked if he needed a ride.

He looked at me and after taking a second to assess the situation, he politely accepted. I then drove the 2 miles back to the school, dropping him off just in time for the bell to ring, and was met with a kind, Thank you.

When I picked my son up from school that day, I told him that I had gone back to give the boy a ride. Immediately, I was met with a surprised look, followed by a, But, you're a stranger. You should never trust strangers.

Without hesitation, I said back to him, Yes, you should, because not all strangers are bad.

We went on to talk about times when strangers or people we didn't know had helped us and what a blessing each had been in our lives.

We discussed the importance of paying attention to things around us so we can know when the stranger wants to harm or help us.

While it scares me to think that there are strangers who want to harm others in particular, my children it brings me great joy and an overwhelming sense of security that there are strangers who want nothing more than to help my children get to where they're going safely.

That is why I will teach my children that sometimes it's OK to trust strangers.