After the incident of the little boy grabbed at the Target store, we had a Savage Family meeting. We had several of these as Greg grew. I cannot remember how many and they were not held on a regular basis; just when necessity required.
As a preface to this, I need to share – we taught Greg two principles that require mentioning here. We taught him to use his inside voice inside and to respect other people’s property. This second lesson included – when you are in a store if you pick up something and then drop it and break it, we have to pay for it. So, just don’t touch it and there will not be a problem. Now, back to the meeting.
I told Greg something almost exactly to these words. “Greg, based on the situation that happened recently at the Target store, we have some new information to give you. If anyone ever tries to grab you or take you, you have our permission to yell, scream, or shout to the top of your lungs, regardless of where you are. You have our permission to kick, break anything around you, and do anything you can to bring as much attention to yourself as possible.” We discussed what we meant by all this and I made sure he understood the context of why we gave him these amended instructions.
The truth is, children need to be empowered. Pedophiles and wicked people will use fear, intimidation, and their size to overpower and take advantage of children. Unless we tell children, unless we empower them, children will not know what is appropriate. If someone grabs your child, grandchild, or a child you are caring for, those first few seconds are precious and cannot be reclaimed. The child must be empowered to act quickly and they will if you tell them what to do.
In the Target store situation, I shared earlier, the wisdom of the mother and the courage and quick thinking of the manager were huge in that little boy being found relatively unharmed. Adding to that, children need instructions as to what to do if some wicked person seeks to take them. We must not assume they will know what to do in that split second decision time.
I am glad to report Greg never had to use the plan. I hope your child is never in a situation of being a potential victim. Let’s empower our children to be wise to the culture in which we live so they can remain safe and be all they can be for the glory of God. Have a great summer.