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The Safety Talk

(For the purposes of privacy, I'm going to refer to my kids by their nicknames, "Bean" and "Cake.")

Now that Bean is five and actually spends a good deal of his day out of my sight at school, Ed and I have been talking about "stranger danger," hopefully on a level he can understand. We discussed this story from the local newspaper about a child luring attempt:

http://timesonline.com/articles/2008/09/29/news/doc48e18c1ab81fc935475415.txt

We told him the importance of never going off with someone who your parents haven't met and that a true sports photographer would have only taken pictures of the team when a coach or parents were around, not after taking a few players to his home. In this case, I am grateful a "nosy" neighbor intervened and saved those boys from exploitation and abuse.

When I was in elementary school, my mom one day announced my siblings and I could no longer wear the sweatshirts she'd put our initials on in iron-on letters unless we wore a jacket over them. She'd heard that personalized clothing was a bad idea because a stranger could make a child assume he was a family friend if he already "knew" the kid by name.

...All of which made me question the wisdom of the rear-window sports decals that are quite popular on the local soccer mom vans. I saw one this morning and it made me think. For those not familiar with them, these decals are usually one color, about 4" square and they feature the child's name and sometimes his jersey number under a picture of a sports ball, a cheerleading megaphone or a karate silhouette.

In the worst case scenario, a predator could show up at the soccer field after seeing Mom's van there the day before and tell Mary (jersey #55) that he's a friend of her parents and they need to leave right away because Joe got hurt at football practice.

I dunno, but as a parent it worries me, and after writing this I'm returning to add this link, as someone obviously agrees. Putting your entire family's names on the car? Definitely a bad idea.

http://www.foogazi.com/2006/10/20/family-car-decals-are-they-dangerous/

Oct. 1st, 2008

[01] Do you have the guts to answer these questions and re-post as The Controversial Survey?
Sure!

[02] Would you do meth if it was legalized?
No hillbilly heroin for me.

[03] Abortion: for or against it?
Very much against it. Having had a miscarriage, I know the baby is not "just tissue" even early in pregnancy. There is too much of a stigma on adoption, which is a good choice in any case where a mother cannot raise the child on her own.

[04] Do you think the world would fail with a female president?
Heavens no!

[05] Do you believe in the death penalty?
No. If you're depraved enough to murder someone, the threat of your own death won't deter you. Also, people wrongly imprisoned for decades have been cleared by DNA evidence through the Innocence Project, and imagine if they'd been put to death.

[06] Do you wish marijuana would be legalized already?
I don't smoke nor care much, but it should be legal for people with severe pain, such as those with end-stage cancer.

[07] Are you for or against premarital sex?
I've never regretted waiting until marriage and I'll encourage my sons to wait, but I'm not anyone else's morality cop. I do think it's best experienced within the context of marriage.

[08] Do you believe in God?
Yes. I have no idea what His plans are for me, but I believe in Him and respect whatever He has in mind.

[09] Do you think same sex marriage should be legalized?
Yes.

[10] Do you think it's wrong that so many Hispanics are illegally moving to the USA?
Yes. I can see why they want to come here, but our financial system can't support that many people who don't pay into it.

[11] A twelve year old girl has a baby, should she keep it?
If she has excellent support from her family. A friend of mine had her son when she was thirteen but she was unable to raise him herself, so her sister, a high school senior at the time, raised him along with her own daughter. My friend is amazing for giving him life, but I can see why she couldn't parent at that age. When you are twelve, you're supposed to ride in the backseat of a car for safety and you're still eligible to order off the kid's menu and enter coloring contests. I don't believe in abortion but adoption is a wise and loving choice if raising the child herself would mean the mother has to quit school and might resent her child.

[12] Should the alcohol age be lowered to eighteen?
No, we already have too many kids in graves from alcohol poisoning.

[13] Should the war in Iraq be called off?
Yes.

[14] Assisted suicide is illegal: do you agree?
Yes. If it were legal, you can't tell me that an ailing senior in a struggling family wouldn't feel pressure to choose suicide instead of being a burden to his or her family. Nobody should have to face that decision.

[15] Do you believe in spanking your children?
No, and I get compliments on my 5yo's behavior. I'm one of those "attachment" parents but no softie. If he screws up, he can count on a lengthy stay in his room and confining an active kid can be even more effective than a quick swat that's soon forgotten.

[16] Would you burn an American flag for a million dollars?
No. I know it's only a symbol, but that would be akin to spitting in the face of every veteran in my family.

[17] Who do you think would make a better president? McCain or Obama?
Undecided.

[18] Are you afraid others will judge you from reading some of your answers?
No, or they wouldn't have posted their own surveys.

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Tommy Joe
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