My hands are shaking as I type this. My heart beats fast and goosebumps run down my arms and legs. In fact, I’m almost on the verge of tears because I’m about to broach a very, very, difficult subject among parents. I’m about to talk about an experience my family will never forget.
Recently, my family participated in an investigative report with KPRC Local 2 News on Stranger Safety. My family wasn’t alone, as we also met Crystal, from Simply Being Mommy, with her family. We weren’t prepared in the least. The only thing we were told was where to go, what time to be there, and how we’d focus on child safety. That made me nervous, but as a Houston Mom Blogger, I felt this could help other families, like mine, learn more about keeping their children safe. I had no idea, it would, completely, change our lives.
You guys will ask one of your children to sit on the bench and stay there. Then you’ll walk away. Our safety experts (from R.A.D Texas), camera crew, and all of you will be close. Your children are in a safe place, but we’re going to try to lure them away using a “stranger”.
As a mother, my heart sank. Thousands of questions raced across my brain:
- Have I taught them enough over the years?
- Will they remember any of it?
- What if they go with them?
- How will this affect them afterwards?
- How will I be affected?
- Can they trust me to keep them safe?
- What if it all goes wrong?
- I feel like crying right.this.second.
My heart pounded out of my chest and that’s when my husband leaned in and told me, “Sara. No. We’re not doing this. It’s not fair to our kids. It’s just TOO real. Let’s go home.” At that moment, I agreed. How can I put my children in this kind of situation? On purpose? And for what?
Then it dawned on me, I had to find out what they would do. I HAD to. It was a safe place and this was my chance to see if I had given them the tools to save their own life.
My heart dropped as I watched Crystal’s family go first. I almost broke down in tears at the reality in front of me. You can read about her experience at SimplyBeingMommy.com.
We creatively kept our kids busy playing on the crowded playground. So, they had no idea what was going on. Then it was our turn. I wanted to test my daughter, first, mainly because she’s our only girl. What came next, not only frightened me, but also elated me.
Channel 2 decided to send a man, from R.A.D. Texas, to try to lure my 8-yr-old daughter away. He would be looking for his grandaughter named Savannah. There was no Savannah, but my daughter didn’t know that. Although, it was staged for the parents, the children didn’t know what was coming. My heart hurt for her as I KNEW she’d be empathetic towards finding a lost child like herself.
As the man approached her and started talking I realized she was being polite and being “helpful” as she usually is, but she wasn’t remembering what I taught her.
- NEVER talk to a stranger.
- NEVER give out information.
- NEVER be fooled by tricks they might use.
She did, however, remember NEVER to go with a stranger. She squirmed in her seat and made mention she needed to wait for her Dad. Then something happened I least expected.
Her older brother was watching from the playground and quickly ran to tell Dad (who was in on it). Once he realized Dad wasn’t stepping in, he took it upon himself to stand near his sister and make sure she was ok.
I was elated. I almost started crying. Although I was happy she could not be lured away and that I taught her well enough, I was disappointed that she didn’t shout out. She didn’t use her loudest strongest voice to alert EVERYONE she was in real trouble.
That scared the crap out of me.
So, I asked all my kids, afterwards, what they were thinking. Remember, we did not, at all, prepare for this segment. This is simply what I’ve taught them over the years.
Have you done enough to teach your kids about stranger safety? Could it save their life? Look for the Channel 2 KPRC stranger safety investigative report to air Monday, February 6th at 10:00pm. We’re also going to bring you two more posts on stranger safety tips I’ve taught my kids and the ONE tool I used years ago that ultimately saved my daughter’s life had this been real.
Latest posts by Sara Patterson (see all)
- Music Monday: Just Breathe - June 20, 2016
- There is a wolf prowling our schools - May 25, 2016
- Music Monday: I completely adore the song “Priceless” - May 23, 2016