I had taken my little boy to The Bull Ring for a treat as it was pay day (bear with). I popped into the Disney shop and saw that there were some Planes on sale for a fiver so brought them for him. And in a fit of extreme generosity took them out of the packet right there and then and let him play with them in his buggy (#bestmumever). The shopping centre was quiet and I strolled down to Selfridges. Whilst I was walking an elderly man in a wheelchair stopped, smiled at my little boy in the pushchair and simply asked him if he was "going to fly?". That was it. My boy made some random plane noises, I smiled and went to walk away. But then.
If you are old like me? You will remember Charlie saying keep away from odd people
And of course we should. We should ensure that our children are protected and unfortunately we need to make them aware quite early in life that the world contains some not very nice people. But we also need to try and encourage empathy and friendliness in them. That sometimes people are genuinely kind. And are maybe lonely and just in need of a chat. There needs to be a bit of balance. I would hate my Dad in his latter years to be seen as anything other than a lovely, chatty old man. It would break my heart.
So I am making a bit of a promise to myself. Whilst ensuring that my children know to not to talk to strangers when I'm not there. Or if anyone does anything they don't like to tell me immediately. When I am there and someone wants to stop and have a look at my dog when we are walking her? Or smiles at us on the school run? I will try my best to be open and accept that not everyone in this world is bad. Because otherwise? That makes the world we are bringing our children up in a very sad and lonely place.