Why “Never Talk To Strangers” is a wrong-headed idea

I heard a public service announcement on my public radio station today, the jist of which was be sure to tell your children to never talk to strangers.

Wait!  What???

Since most of the people a child sees any given day (if they live in a metro area) would be people they have never met, that means they are being taught to go around purposely ignoring and treating as threatening almost every other human being they see in the course of their day.

We need to teach children that there is that one nut that will hurt or abduct you.   But what about teaching them SKILLS….

the SKILLS they need to relate to people, meet new people, and navigate each encounter?

I agree in general that CHILDREN don’t need to talk to strangers, but their PARENTS definitely should.  But I typically observe that the parents avoid contact with strangers too, because they are trying to model the behavior they want from their children–and in the process, adults all over the country are ignoring, treating as dangerous. the very people that could become friends, spouses, leads to new jobs or business (if self employed)…  This is complete lunacy!

Parents are the role models.  So what if they model street wise behavior…and model the idea—to use an old cliche–that “A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet.”

Parents can model common streetwise intelligence–how to determine if any given person is safe to talk to:   things like, where is this occurring –a dark alley or a safe place?  And is the person acting appropriately, making eye contact (but not too much) and so on..

What I see are young parents completely isolated from others in a hostile (not) world, ensconcing their children in their apron strings…

…  Both adults and children need the street wise skills to make their way in the world;  skills that are a complete enigma because of this ludicrous blanket admonition of “never talk to strangers”.

So, show your kids HOW to relate to each stranger in a smart fashion, let them begin to practice talking to strangers while you are present, and as they get older, armed with streetwise-ness, encourage them to go out alone with that old cliche:

“A stranger is (might be) just a friend you haven’t met yet.”

Thank You for considering this important concept.  Have a friendly day.

Trella

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Every moment we walk on a beautiful path, if we don’t lose our way

imagesBelow are some words from another post. I gratefully acknowledge the New Earth Heartbeat for posting this most invaluable writing. You can read the entire post via the link below, but I copied some parts below that I wanted to discuss.

http://newearthpulse.wordpress.com/2014/11/15/being-the-boss/

I am moved by the words from that post stating that if we cannot admit we are Buddha then we don’t understand Buddha nature. This means to me allowing Buddha to be, versus trying to explain or prove something about it. No one can get another to use this teaching that does not already have the propensity to do so. That is not to say it is worthless to write and speak about it—for there are many who DO have the propensity, and YOUR WORDS may be just what the doctor ordered to allow them to know and be Buddha nature, to stop seeking to understand, and to know that they already know

And if we seek to understand it, we cannot understand it. This phrase empowers me to tap into what is already there, the part that we all have that is one with nature and with all humanity, that knows what to do, that is always the boss. Focusing on this, I realize that I am the boss, because Buddha nature is the boss, someone far more capable than the ego part of me, someone I surrender to, trust completely to love and be kind to me and everyone else. That is the only way Buddha can be – loving, kind, wise, always able to protect us from losing our way. Buddha nature shows us what to do next, and how to do it, right here and right now—how to eliminate stress, to commit to the next thing–brushing your teeth or painting a glorious work of art, or making a call to set a doctor’s appointment—all those tasks are equal, when done with Buddha nature, all those tasks bring peace and are equally important. There is a way to do each of those diverse things that will bring about loving kindness in yourself today and in everyone you encounter today.

Another part of the post that struck a chord in me is “this means you should not lose your way”….

Today I will not lose my way, even though I did five minutes ago or yesterday or last year or 20 years ago, today I no longer need to lose my way, nothing else matters. If you are lost and you’ve been through many errors, failures, tragedies, and so on—if you have done wrong, or wrong has been done to you…why would you want to continue to be in that mess when you can be Buddha the one that will no longer lose his or her way?

The music of today is in the spirit of knowing that in me is a place beyond consciousness where music and art live in the most beautiful and effortless forms, and from that place things I thought were too hard suddenly become easy, or the process of breaking them down and learning them becomes a basic and joyful labor of love, leading to the level of musicianship infused with love that I aspire to…This process holds for whatever art or job or family rising or relationship making you are doing today.

 

“…When we ask what Buddha nature is, it vanishes; but when we just practice zazen, we have full understanding of it.”

“…So what Buddha meant by Buddha nature was to be there as he was, beyond the realm of consciousness.”

“…Buddha nature is our original nature; we have it before we practice zazen and before we acknowledge it in terms of consciousness.”

“If you want to understand it, you cannot understand it. When you give up trying to understand it, true understanding is always there.”

“…if you are under the idea of doing or not doing zazen, or if you cannot admit that you are Buddha, then you understand neither Buddha nature nor zazen.”

“Wherever we go, we should not lose this way of life. That is called ‘being Buddha,’ or ‘being the boss.’”

“Wherever you go you should be the master of your surroundings. This means you should not lose your way.”

GET A DIVORCE FROM UNLOVING PARENTS

toxicI have read many self-help books written by people who had the parents we all wish for—these books are helpful because they describe a parenting style—supportive and loving—that sets the tone for a child to develop into a competent adult with high self-esteem.

And in describing the parenting style it empowers the reader of such books to clone, as it were, that style—becoming their own loving parent—the one they never had.

Even better, I have read self-help books by people who had horrible abusive parents…and these people become best selling self help authors, just as the ones who had loving parents.

So, which one are you? As you see, it matters not what circumstances you came from—either upbringing can lead you to the success and joy you want as an adult

Get a loving divorce from un-loving parents – by releasing the defeating messages, your parents’ legacy.

Have you ever heard a successful person credit their parents’ unconditional love as the key to their success? Have you felt jealous? “You see, they had good parents so naturally they have a happy life, are wealthy, have a wonderful partner….Wish that was true for me.”

Guess what, just as many successful people had awful parents who told them they were no good, grew up in foster homes with no parents to speak of, or with criminal drug addict parents, or worse.

How is that possible? Because you can use your past as you choose to use it. Those who’ve succeeded at their life’s mission in spite of “bad” parents, have decided to make that the very reason, or motivation for their own success—their key to empowerment. But they’ve become their own unconditionally loving parents, by the way they think and the way they treat themselves.

 Learn to release the messages from those who raised you—messages limiting your joy, success, ability to live the life you want and deserve. Conversely, keep any helpful, encouraging messages from mom, dad, and others you met in childhood, highschool, college, or elsewhere.

Keep in mind, the “divorce” from those who raised you cannot be an angry one, because then they still have emotional hooks in you. Make it a loving divorce, acknowledging those who raised you did all that they could with what they knew at the time.

Accept Compliments: doing so fosters your enjoyment of the transformational process.

Compliments are a form of prosperity, of wealth, even better than the material kind, and they lead to more treasure—material and spiritual.

Do you shun compliments for what you’ve done, feeling “I did not do that well”, or “That person does not know how much better I can do”, or “That just was not very good so I don’t accept their compliment”. Well, this will keep you performing poorly. Learn to accept compliments with grace—they are a gift—better yet, give one back. The good vibes keep flowing with mutual compliments. Rejecting compliments, outwardly or in your own thoughts or feelings, hinders the flow of creativity and energy.

So, rejoice in the ability to accept a compliment—respect the giver as the insightful person who loves and cares to support your good efforts—and love yourself for those efforts. Your powers of productivity and love will double or triple. With that power you can hone your skills, increase your self belief, and  sustain energy for intensive training, practicing, art or whatever you have planned for the day.

How to Shut Up (while not suppressing) your inner Critic.

 

You cannot suppress this voice/person/belief system that lives in your head.

You will only make it stronger.  You must come up to it and say,

“Hello, what is your opinion about my (music/writing/clothing/weight…)” and let it/her/him reply.

Then kindly say, thank you for sharing that, now I need to get back to what I do best, writing/playing/being joyful…

This person will lose the desire to bug you when you stop taking the bait.  Just like an external person.  If you are polite but do not let them jerk your chain they will get bored and stop their negative chatter about everything and anything.

The magazine “Real Simple” suggests some tips for controlling your inner critic:

  1. Pluck the weeds – when you have a thought, decide, is this a weed that needs to be plucked so my lovely garden can continue to flourish?  Focus on the thoughts that are beautiful blooms.  You can only focus on and embrace one thing at a time- by the time you immerse your feelings into the astounding  beauty of what your eyes and your heart behold, the weed/critic will have forgotten the point it was trying to make
  2. Rewire your brain – every thought we have paves a neural pathway, making it easier to have the same response over and over again. When the path is taken millions of times, it gets on auto-pilot.  Be aware of this, for example, every time I work on a new jazz technique the critic assures me I am too stoopid to play jazz – so I will recognize this, and take note of things I have mastered that I originally thought I never could.  At first this counter-thought will seem like a lie, I am just fooling myself, but just go along with it, and the next time the critic on auto pilot returns, insert that same response:  “Look at what I have accomplished that proves your criticism is wrong”.  Each time you do this, the new and self-loving neural pathway will get bigger, to the point that you will replace the critic with the warm,  loving supportive inner you that treasures each effort you make to excel at your dream of being a jazz guitarist/author/dancer/painter…or ______ (insert whatever is your passion.

Peace with my Past

All my life I have had this sad feeling whenever i think of anything past, people who’ve gone, jobs lost, a lost time in my life.  Today i will reframe this — I don’t like the sad feeling, like things were good then but now nothing matter,  That is an habitual response whenever something triggers a connection to a past person or time or place.  Currently i have a new response when those feelings are triggered. I have researched physics and other writings about time- that it is an illusion – this concept enables me to be free from pain about the past or wistful nostalgia – as if those times were better.  Since my mom died recently it is more clear than ever to me, that the present is all we have. And the “have my cake and eat it too” in all this is: Since there is only now, all those things that trigger in my memory are not really PAST.  They are all part of the here and now, not gone.  Feelings i had then, i have now, if i choose to.  Feelings of pain about the past, or regrets, become suddenly light weight and no longer have power to depress me, once i realize there is only now and that all that has happened, will happen and is happening is all RIGHT NOW. That all i AM is here and now – I am not the past, nor defined by it, nor a victim of it, anymore than if i were to see a movie in which a person was victimized and from then on i would be a victim.

When you think of the tiny dot of time that humans have been alive, it is easier to realize that my tiny amount of time on earth, my past, present and future is all one event, not some long drawn out linear thing… This is going somewhere…umm…it means that the pain, the draining of motivation, that accompanies thoughts and feelings about past things…can be obliterated… How can that be?  Here is how; When i think of a past thing, like my mom in the kitchen when i was 5, since i come from the vantage point that time is an illusion, i don’t need to feel some deep sadness that my mon died or that i am no longer this little child without the harsh experiences of an adult. because really when I was 5  i was also 50, and when i am 50 i am also 5.  I have access to all times, feelings, happiness, innocence, to the blazingly bright and perfect worldview of that little girl, only now with the wisdom of a zen guru added in, making live all the more amazing and opened to all the best infinite possibilites.

The past no longer has to be suppressed – i used to suppress thots or feelings about the past –that can be triggered in many ways, many times a day: a song, a photo, driving by a place i lived before.  I suppressed the feelings because i wanted to prove how the past didn’t matter, that i was smarter now and did not care about it.  The suppressing ate up my energy and enjoyment of the present.

But now i don’t have to suppress it. that means i can be in power in the present, allow the feelings to occur, and acknowledge they are part of the here and now, not some past tragic/happy thing that is gone forever..then if they help me do better in the here and now I enjoy the feelings/thoughts  of the past, if they don’t help, i say to myself – that is an illusion just as time is an illusion – that event from 1960 or whatever is not determining my here and now, except to the extent i can learn from it…