Every so often we are once again frightened into action by some story in the news about a child being abducted by some creepy guy in a big white van. We consider ourselves particularly vulnerable because, well, our kids have a high degree of comfort with being in huge white vans because, uh, we own one of course; in our defense it’s the only thing that will house our whole Reynolds team at once.
Anyway, such was recently the case and Kat determined it was time again to remind the children about what appropriate behavior looks like if by some chance somebody tries to abduct one of them. Most of the kids have been through this routine multiple times, and get very excited to share with the group all the things they are permitted to do, which in any other situation would be strictly forbidden and cause for serious discipline. In fact, the excitement that is generated by the conversation of what they CAN do in this type of situation gives me some legitimate concern that deep down inside a couple of the more brazen of the troops don’t have a teeny little twinge of desire to someday test out their prevention skills. We’ll have to deal with that too.
So, Kat asks the kids to share with the family some of the things they should do if somebody tries to snatch them, and immediately a vigorous chorus of suggestions ensues. “Stick your fingers in their eyeballs and try to scratchthem!” “Pinch them super hard!” “Kick them in the privates!” “Scream super loud, ‘HE’S NOT MY DADDY, HE’S NOT MY DADDY’!” “Start shaking and going super crazy and having a huge tantrum!” And on and on.
Well, out of nowhere comes the unmistakable sound of Rook with a suggestion of his own. He hollers at the top of his voice, “YOU CANPICK THEIR BOOGERS!”. All the kids immediately stop, look at Rook and start completely busting up. Rook is not one to be ashamed, in fact he just smiles as all the others laugh at his suggestion. When the laughter subsides he determines an explanation is clearly necessary, so he simply states, “What? I want to give ‘em a bloody nose!” Let’s just say Rook has given himself a few bloody noses recently.
SIDENOTE: In our church, we have a program called Family Home Evening. It’s basic purpose is to set aside one night a week (generally Monday) for families to be together both to strengthen their ties, plan for the week, and teach principles that will help us be better people. Perhaps one of the most memorable and enjoyable lessons we ever had according to the kids is the night where we role-played what to do if somebody tried to abduct the kids. I grabbed each of them in turn and they got to scream and go crazy and flail and go nuts. We did have some rules however against the eye gouging and private part kicking . . . Anyway, I highly recommend it. Not trying to make light of to what any parent is likely the most feared event that could ever happen in their lives, but I think it helps to let kids actually do what they’re supposed to do. Can’t be too ready.
SIDE NOTE #2: On the subject of having a twinge of hope that they might get a chance to use these abduction prevention skills: My kids come by this hunger for risk honestly. A perfect example. We live in the mountains outside Denver, and mountain lions are a real issue to be considerate of. One day my father and several brothers were all visiting here for some reason, and the subject of mountain lions came up. You’ll not be surprised to know that each of us, Dad was not an exception, had already imagined these scenarios and had plans in place in the back of our minds as to how we would handle it if and when the situation of a mountain lion or bear attack presented itself. And we’re not talking about standard, animal attack prevention techniques here – we’re talking bona fide personal strategies that had clearly been formulated with great thought and consideration. Further, and I can’t believe this is the case, but each one of us – I honestly can’t exclude myself here – shared our plan in such a way that made it clear to me that in some freakish way, we all hoped someday we’d get the chance to put our well laid plans to the test. I know what you’re thinking: something is seriously wrong with this family. You’re probably right, but it’s the best family in the world – hands down.