If this blog post is called Wave Power, there’s a chance that I was going to write about the first wave powered, electricity-producing facility in the United States that tied into a utility grid recently in Hawaii. However, that’s not what this post is about, but why pass up the opportunity to mention something really cool?
The other day while driving, I stopped at a red light. As I waited, there was a car to the left of me, and a little ahead. When I finally gazed over to that car, my view was suddenly met by the return view of the cutest little girl sitting in the back seat of the other car. As we both continue to stare, a hundred thoughts went through my head, and unfortunately, most of them made me sad.
My first reaction was to wave to the little girl……except, then my imagination ran away with me. What if the girl got frighten? What if her mother in the front seat barked at her about waving to strangers? What if the mother saw me, and thought I was some creepy guy? My sadness turned to anger. Anger that people harm little children. Anger that strangers are now so feared; even in adults. Anger that such a little random act of kindness could be construed at anything other than benevolent.
I must skip ahead of the story for a moment. Later that day, I decided to do some quick research on my experience that morning in my car, and I came across an article reinforcing something that I had been thinking about for a long time. From ABC News; The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is now encouraging parents to steer away from using the phrase “stranger danger,” a slogan that has been taught for decades to emphasize to children the potential threat posed by strangers.
Several advocate groups have been educating parents about this expression. Studies show that yes, children need to be taught how to be safe, prosper, and thrive in society, but teaching them to fear and avoid strangers at all cost, may be far more detrimental to their well-being; especially after statistics showing in the 90 plus percentile that most harm comes to children from people they already know. At some point, children may have to rely on a stranger, whether they need medical help after falling off a bike or being lost in a crowd, or accidentally separated from their parents.
So now going back to my car stopped at the traffic light; for what seemed like a very long time, I continued to dwell on the present state of sad sociological doom; and then it happened.
In a split second, a smile with the brilliance of an atomic explosion (hopefully metaphorically, and not actual from North Korea), broke out on the little girls face, and at the same time, her hand sprung up and began to furiously wave hello at me. Over-coming the lump in my throat and euphoria in my heart (sorry for the sappy sentiment here), I return the huge smile and furious hand shaking until her car drove off.
That’s the power of innocence. That’s the power of a smile.
That’s Wave Power!
Power To The People!
We could all use a little bit of it now.
Well, look at you, Zulu! This is a great post. 👋
What a thought-provoking post. As a former teacher, I understand how hard it is to explain to children the need to stay safe and vigilant, while also trying to explain the need to be thoughtful and caring of others. The sad reality that it is those whom they trust who are most likely to harm them is a terrible thing. Find me here. LINK