Putting aside the current politically correct, social and ethical storm of the bathroom gender issue, we should step back for a moment and realize that from the instant children were invented, mothers have always worried that some type of boogey man will try to harm, snatch or frighten their precious offspring in all sorts of places, not just public restrooms.
There’s really no way to look at a person and tell whether or not they are demented enough to harm a child. I’ve known both a clean-cut man who was caught by the FBI for child molestation and a startling-looking person who is as trustworthy as can be.
It’s precisely because we can’t judge a book by its cover that I decided to teach my boys the “Ransom of Red Chief” self- defense plan so they would be on guard with everyone, no matter what their appearance may suggest. You remember the O. Henry story where the kidnappers grabbed the redheaded ten-year-old boy from Alabama and held him for ransom, only to discover that he was a stinkin’ terror who drove them crazy. In the end of the story, the two kidnappers were forced to pay the boy’s father to take him back.
As painful as it was to push Southern manners aside, I taught my boys it was okay and essential to scream, hit, bite, scratch, gouge and kick anyone who dared cross the line of decency. My goal was to make any potential predator rue the day he ever laid eyes on my child. If anyone actually attempted to snatch them and run out of a store, my sweeties were instructed to repeatedly poke the eyes of the kidnapper while screaming, “This isn’t my daddy!” because we’ve all seen crying children being carried out by a man and thought, “Poor Dad, he’s got his hands full with that one.” But then again . . . was he really the Dad?
The other thing I taught my children to scream was a word I wasn’t even allowed to say as a little girl, but somehow screaming . . . Click HERE to read the rest of the story on al.com.