“Should I be concerned that my first instinct when someone rings the doorbell is to pretend I'm not home?” someone said over Twitter. Within the thread were assorted GIFs, such as the one with the woman inside the refrigerator, pulling the door shut.
Me, I just like to help: “Of course not,” I replied. “Sudden appearance of someone you don’t know is always a cause for concern. Just watch out that the yapping dog at the window doesn’t give you away continually looking back as though to say, ‘Well? Why don’t you answer?’”
I should have left it at that. But I took on another tweet in the thread:
“I feel like this is the result of boomer parents drilling into their millennial children that all strangers will murder you and you’re never to answer the door or the phone when home alone. Ever,” a woman said.
Tommy, shut up. You know you should shut up. Don’t say what I did:
Yeah. It’s like when teens came to the door and I showed the ‘Be Social Media Smart’ video. Then on a return visit, mom appeared, I said she was the one I’d been looking for, and she said I shouldn’t talk to her kids. Well—I specifically asked them if they thought their parents would care—people are different—and they had said no. ‘Kids will say anything,’ the woman told me.
Be Social Media Smart is innocuous. Few would be anything but supportive of it, pulling out their hair as they do about kids’ online activity.
Uh oh: “The fact that you don’t see anything wrong with being a grown ass man having a conversation with children and showing them religious material without their parents present is exactly why millennials grew up not trusting men who knock on their door.”
Caution: Disagreement ahead vs ‘children vs teens,’ also ‘religious material vs PSA:’
The teens answered the door. I wasn’t looking for them. I asked for the parents who weren’t there. The material I showed, after asking if folks would object, was perfectly innocuous, not preachy in anyway, and I have never known any parent, religious or not, to oppose it….1/2
The fact is, in two or three years, those kids will be in the workworld, in college, maybe the military, where they will meet many a situation more ‘threatening’ than there encountered. Not all parents want their teens to hide. Most realize they will soon enough face the world….2/2
“You didn’t know what that parent wanted because they weren’t present for you to ask. So instead of leaving and coming back later, you, an adult man, continue to speak to children at the door of their own home when their parents weren’t available.”
The video is essentially a PSA announcement, hard to believe it would get someone’s dander up so. Were the teens to resume watching TV/internet, they’d see many far more objectionable things. But I’ve no quarrel with you, nor your family rules & would never violate whatever rules you have laid down, or that your teens, were I to encounter them, would tell me about.
“You could have been going door to door to show them episodes of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. The problem is that you didn’t leave once the kids said their parents weren’t available. As the adult it’s on you to disengage when the parents aren’t present, but you didn’t.”
Best drop it at this point. You often have to let people get the last word, unless you want to be drawn into a thread that may never end. I even had to look up what Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood was and I was a little concerned it might be some pervert video or other, but it was just an example of an innocuous and virtuous video for small children. (whereas we were talking teens)
Still, I gotta say, it’s not the most comfortable spot to be in. Does it make me rethink? Times have changed. Best not be a dinosaur when the meteorite hits. Best not think of how it used to be. Think of how it is now. I’m not even sure ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ works anymore, and—let us be honest—even if it does, am I one of that village?
It is a pretty rare scenario in these parts but it does happen. You never press any teen, but is it the rule now that you don’t talk to them at all? I certain youngster I chatted with briefly, he being the only one home and assuring me nobody cared if he exchanged a word or two with a visitor. Upon leaving, there was his mom driving up the driveway. “I asked your son a couple of questions and he answered intelligently,” I told her. “You should be proud of him.”
Several years ago—what, maybe 20–I worked door to door with Elena, newly arrived from South America. A child answered the door—this time it was a child, not a teen. I handed a tract with instructions to give it to her parent. As we walked away, Elena said, ‘I would have witnessed to her.’
Of course. She wouldn’t do it today. But where she came from, it was quite common for Witnesses to speak with children. Parents had no problem with it, and in fact, many were quite pleased that some would be learning the Bible. But something even then told me we’re not in San Kansas anymore. No way in Western lands do I ever speak with a child so young other than a ‘give this to your mom’ kind of thing.
And here I was speaking to Davey-the-Kid about the difference in kids. Youngsters in the Latin American countries take on responsibilities early and thus mature early, whereas in the States there are 30-years olds as silly as adolescents.
***And—best not ignore the elephant in the room. The reason parents are on hair trigger alert more than even 20 years ago is the fear of pedophiles. Nobody is above suspicion. Just last month a pedophile school principle, who called children into his office to sit on his lap, was sentenced to prison. Call it another sign of the times.
From Tom Irregardless and Me:
“For example, a former coach of youth sports, Bob Cook wrote: “The most upsetting thing about many child-protection rules is they assume any adult is capable of doing something bad. If you think of yourself as a good person, and the people around you as good people, you can’t help but be taken aback. You can’t help but think a wall has been put between yourself, the children you coach, and the families you deal with. It’s a wall that seems patently ridiculous when, in the case of the Catholics involved in my Virtus meeting, were tight-knit, south side Chicago parishes where families had known each other for
No sense fighting it. You’d better adapt. ‘We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto.’
****** The bookstore