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Keeping Kids Safe

The recent break-ins are a reminder to teach kids about safety.

The doorbell rang and I made my way downstairs to find my little one opening the door to a group of Jehovah’s Witnesses.  I took over from there, politely saying we weren’t interested and pointing to the fancy ‘no solicitors’ sign I had painted and posted above our mailbox. 

The real concern for me was that my son had just thrown the front door wide open to strangers. He’s not used to strangers on our quiet little street.  He’s used to neighborhood kids or adults stopping by. 

A few weeks ago one of my favorite people was almost the victim of a carjacking in town, complete with guns, coming home from dinner with her husband and friends. Thankfully her husband had the presence of mind to instruct her friend on some crafty driving maneuvers and they were able to escape. 

All of this comes on the heels of the news of ridiculous number of car break-ins and thefts as well as homes break-ins.

One of the things I love about our town is even though we are mere minutes from New York City, we live in a bucolic little enclave where kids can ride their bikes around their neighborhoods, and we know the librarians and town police officers by name.  It’s easy to be lulled into a false sense of security here.

I need to brush off my copy of “Protecting the Gift” by Gavin De Becker and spend some time this summer training my kids to be aware of their surroundings and how to keep themselves safe. It is the best book I have read on the subject of children’s safety. 

De Becker explains in a clear and concise way to teach kids to honor their intuition, as well as how to empower kids to say no when placed in a situation that’s uncomfortable. For example De Becker says we give our children mixed messages when we say don’t talk to strangers and yet chide them when they won’t say hello to someone they don’t know when they are with us.  “Say hello to the nice lady!”

He says we are the only animals that choose to ignore our intuition in fear of being rude.

“Well, it looks like a nice lion,” we say, while other animals say, “It’s a lion. RUN.”

The idea that my children would be so trusting as to just throw the front door open to anyone, is terrifying. My friend narrowly escaping armed men is terrifying. While I’m not suggesting that the recent break-ins are a sign we’re on a downhill slide into an area riddled with crime, I am suggesting it’s an opportunity to remind myself that my children need a refresher course on staying safe.

Noreen Brunini July 09, 2011 at 09:15 PM
Good points to warn your kids. In my experience, at least The Jehova Witness ladies tend to be polite and leave.. But maybe a different group goes to your house. Its also the time of year for the "magazine sellers" who can be even more zealous and persistent and hard to get to leave. I often get the feeling they are casing the neighborhood to see how many houses are empty as burglary reports have increased in past years with their arrival. Beware. And the carjackings are truly terrifying -- I hope the police are working hard on finding whoever is behind the carjackings.
Robin C. Morgan July 10, 2011 at 04:59 AM
Mr. Haszard has made a practice of spreading misinformation regarding Jehovah's Witness. The only thing he said that has any validity is regarding signage. Simply telling someone to not return is not enough. But as Christians we do respect your privacy. Jehovah's Witnesses definitely have the right to be at your front door. We do not recognize "NO SOLICITORS" signs since we are not "soliciting" for anything. There are two things you can do. Tell the person directly to not call on your home. They will put a not in their records. Or put a "NO TRESPASSING" sign in plain site on your property. These are the facts. 1943, the Supreme Court of the United States put a stop to the harassment of Jehovah’s Witnesses under such misapplied ordinances(Community laws regarding the Pledge of Allegiance and prosyletizing). WEST VIRGINIA STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION v. BARNETTE, 319 U.S. 624 (1943) 319 U.S. 624 WEST VIRGINIA STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION et al. v. BARNETTE et al. No. 591. Argued March 11, 1943. Decided June 14, 1943. The majority decision written by Mr. Justice Douglas. Read the decision @ http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=319&invol=624s. This was reaffirmed on May 24, 1979 in St. Louis, MO. Judge Sweeney (Circuit Court of St. Louis County) released his decision. My suggestion to parents is to teach their children to never answer or respond to anyone at their front door. Use common sense. The parent should take responsibility for this. God bless. Robin.
Solomon Ruffo July 13, 2011 at 03:55 AM
Cults recruit,they have no alternative, they cannot grow without recruiting. They look for very specific traits in the prime candidates (the mark), and Jehovah's Witnesses are no exception. The talking point Jehovah's Witnesses are TRAINED to use at the doors are clearly designed to vet for poorly developed critical thinking skills, a soured view of or disaffection from society and/or religion, and a demonstrated lack of knowledge about what the Bible teaches. Anyone who shows easy capacity with any of these will be quickly deemed "argumentative" and the discussion will be ended. The goal of door-to-door ministry is to catch people when they are more relaxed, more genial, in an environment socially predisposed to the offer of hospitality and forbearance. This is all by design. No one is thinking through how best to Scripturally explain their religious beliefs while relaxing at home, not even Jehovah's Witnesses. The religion is a cult.

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