Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Raising kids in South Africa... with "bad people"

I remembered that I needed to write this post after Heather and I discussed beggars.

Here in South Africa you basically find beggars at the intersection of most major roads.

A few weeks ago, a beggar shook a takeaway cup at my window and I shook my head "no".

Connor then said to me, "why is that man giving you a cup?"

Me  he wants money

Connor so why don't you give him some?                    Things are so simple for toddlers.

Me I don't have any money with me (in this case it was true because I never keep money in the car itself)

The next Saturday another beggar shakes a pot at me through the window.

Before I could even say "no" Connor shouts through the window, "I don't have any money"

It was VERY cute but also a bit cringe-worthy as in "what am I teaching them?!"

Do you give money to beggars?

I never do but I do give food if I have some. I often buy an extra bag of rolls and hand those over, or an extra bag of fruit, etc.

This was exactly as the moon looked in the sky. Perfect blue!

Again, we live in South Africa where bad things can happen to people in nice neighbourhoods. I don't live in fear because I trust God to protect us.

BUT I also live with wisdom and part of that is teaching my kids to trust their instincts (the Holy Spirit) and more important, obey.

As an aside, that's why I insist on listening and obeying immediately with the kids because they need to learn to listen and obey God immediately when He speaks. I'm not being a dictator, per se, but I feel like it could be a matter of life and death.

Anyway, so part of this "education" is me telling them that there are bad people in the world and that's why I want the gates locked all the time and why we don't faff around at the gate - we get in, close and move into the house.

I've taught them where the panic button is too and to press if they feel the slightest bit uneasy if there is someone in the garden who we have not employed.

Is this freaking you out???? :)

Kendra tells me the other day, "Mummy, can we pray for the bad people tonight so they won't be bad anymore?"

Well, this is beautiful because I can't say I have much compassion myself so I said to her, "of course we can, Baby, let's do it right now" and right there in the entrance way, we prayed for the bad people.

So again, Connor and I driving to gym.

In the car, Connor says to me, "I think we should just throw the bad people in jail and not pray for them".


That's more or less how I feel...

The other day, Connor and I went to Clicks for who-knows-what (but always costs at least R374).

We had HUGE excitement because there was a shoplifter. This poor man stole Eye-Gene (have you ever?!) - I'm not encouraging stealing but really, Eye-Gene?

The shop and the centre security guards had him handcuffed and they were waiting for the police to arrive.

Connor was all wide-eyed - staring at all the goings on despite my "baby, it's not good manners to stare" :)

He couldn't stop talking about that for a good week or two.

And then one cute Connor story to end (this is to balance the Kendra-isms from a few weeks back)

Kendra wanted me to read her a story (not at bedtime) but I was busy.

Me Connor, why don't you read her a story?

Connor (mini freak-out) BUT I DON'T KNOW HOW TO READ!!!

Me It's okay, you can just tell her a story

Connor OHHHH, with just any words?

He was quite taken that it doesn't have to be accurate :)

I can just see her as a bigger kid with a book. Be still, my beating heart!

Speaking of accurate... have you ever seen an Alice in Wonderland with dark hair?

We have a new book and the Alice has dark hair.

Both Kendra and I (rule followers) said immediately to D, "that's not Alice. She's supposed to be blonde"

and then we got a lecture from D about how Disney created her blonde but in the book, she's actually any way you imagine her, which was totally beyond me (I'm an S) and by the looks of it, Kendra too :)

I'm feeling particularly virtuous tonight as I went to gym and then went back to work. I love that I didn't miss gym because of work.

Tomorrow 5:30 the initial craziness of the new job will be over but first, pray for my presentation from 2 pm....

Have you had reason to speak to your kids about bad people?


  1. It seems to be expected here in America to talk to your children about "stranger danger" and "bad people". So we have talked about it ... but out here in the country we also have to talk about bad bugs, bad snakes, bad animals, bad plants... so I think they just lump all of it together.

    You don't see a lot of beggers/poor around here - since it is pretty much illegal to beg in city limits, you do see it a bit, but not much. Also there are a lot of government programs for the poor that are suppose to be helpful. (I consider them more of a headache most of the time.)

    We are pretty poor for Americans ... and I still consider us pretty well off all things considered - my kids eat, they have clothes, we have 3 old hand me down type computers to use for school, things could be a LOT worse.

    We've also discussed that you can't tell whether a person is bad just by looking at them. They might look bad (unwashed, homeless, smell bad) and still be a wonderful person - there is a man around here that hands out tracts and is always telling people about God - and he is obviously homeless or quite poor ... On the other hand, a person can look rich and well dressed and offer candy or treats and only want to hurt them or steal something from them. So we also teach them to come get Mom or Dad or a bigger sibling if anyone comes into the yard - and to stay right with us when we are out and about.

    On a side note, while on a rare outing last Friday, Rue wandered off and was brought back to us by a store worker - obviously I need to talk to her a LOT more about staying with us! One of the big sister's was watching her, and got side tracked looking at something in the store - Rue merely wandered over to something else and then couldn't find her way back.

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  3. It's very difficult for any parent to raise kids today. There are so much crime in today's age, that bringing kids up, is a matter of a lot of prayer.
    I think you have handled all these type of situations great because this is exactly how I handle it with mine too.

  4. We also pass some beggars on the way to school and she always asks me why the one man is crying (he is not, but he does look pretty miserable) I tell her its because he does not have a house etc.

    I have started talking to Little OL about strangers etc but it is hard. She will absoloutely not speak to anybody she does not know - to the point of being rude - if that person is white. However, if it the person is not white she will happily chat away and almost walk off with them. I think it is because since she was little her nanny, the gardener and all the teacheres, carers at Day Care, school etc have all been of colour and she loves them all. I am trying to teach her about good and bad not matter what they look like, but also don't want to scare the living daylights out of her.

    I know she does not see colour as adults do, but she definintly does make a distinction when it comes to talking to strangers.

    Once when my sister was about 6 my parents dropped her off at Sunday School - and then forgot to go and fetch her...... The minister's wife saw her sitting on the fence outside after everyone had left and offered to take her home. She would not go, even though my sister recognised her she was not on the "list". The minister's wife ended up driving to our house, fetching my brother (who was 13 and taking him back to the church so he could walk my sister home. I need to get Little OL to that point.

  5. Awe...that photo of kendra reading is so cute! And LOL at Connor worrying about it being accurate.

    I have spoken to Nicola about bad guys. In our house we call them skollies. She also knows that sometimes the skollies pretend to be good guys like the police. She inherently doesn't really like strangers, and I give her full reign on trusting her instincts when it comes to that. I want her to know when she feels uneasy about someone to trust that feeling and steer clear of them.

  6. Lesley11:30 am

    You did freak me out a little reading that. I really have no idea of what living with that need of protection is like, and i feel so blessed that i dont need it.

    Saying that, when we arrived here i soon discovered that the sleepy idyllic village that we moved to, was not so idyllic. I discovered that a convicted pedophile lived next door to my children's school (they had to build a taller wall to stop him looking over) and further up the road another pedophile lived - who we had actually invited around for tea (we knew his family),only to be warned by someone in the church to be careful because of his past (obviously he never came to tea). That was all shortly after we arrived.

    Then, 3 years ago, when we were in our first rented house, we had a 'peeping Tom' who i discovered one night pulling back my bedroom curtains with a bamboo cane. That was very scary as i was in the house late at night (husband working night shift) with 3 small children. Also the house was an old bungalow which was anything but secure - didnt even have proper looks on the doors. Two months later at nearly midnight, when my husband was away for the weekend the peeping Tom tried to get into the house. I had left a small window open and he had opened it fully so he could open the whole unit and get in. It was only because i returned to the kitchen (Totally God's timing and protection!!) that i disturbed him and he dropped the window and i heard it bang! He had moved all my plants on the window ledge so he could climb up. My screaming woke the children. We moved out of that house 2 weeks later. It totally frighten me and has actually changed me - always locking doors and windows now, lol. I spoke about it a lot with the children at the time.

    I think it is important, like Mama Eagle has said, that we dont equate poverty with bad, and wealthy with good. Also to teach our children that consequences such as extreme poverty and lack of nurture as children can make good people do bad things.

    I think it is very wise of you to teach your children to obey you immediately.

  7. Hahaha.. this post made me laugh at the funny things kids say, but also made me nod in agreement about your sentiments re: the bad people. I talk about it all the time, sorry but in this day and age, I'd rather instill a healthy fear in them, rather than have them think the world is one big happy place and we all love each other and everyone is your friend. No. I must tell you, they are so used to people trying to sell us stuff at the robots and me yelling "no thanks" that even when beggars come to the window, they yell "no thanks" haha! shame man!

  8. Sigh. We just had a "stranger danger" conversation with the girls a couple of nights ago. It's such a tough subject...that's not something (thankfully! and knock on wood!) that we see a lot of around here...but it has to be addressed, I know.

    We don't see a lot of beggars here, either. The few the girls have noticed, I talked about them in the context of how we donate things to people who aren't as fortunate as we are. The girls seem to get that concept...but I know that's a huge over-simplification.

    Love the picture of K! Yes, as with the one from a few days ago, I can just see that pose when she's 12. ;) And what a cute story of C "reading" to her. Hee hee!

    Again, hope the presentation went well!!! And now...RELAX!!!

  9. Growing up I remember learning about stranger danger, but I think I'm pretty lax about it, living on a military base and all. I should probably teach the littles more about good and bad people...

  10. I just love C...he is hilarious!! My favorite is the panicky "I don't know how to read!" : )

    We have talked a bit about bad people. The girls know that's what J does at work--put the bad people in jail and help the people who need it--and they know he carries a gun to protect himself and others from bad people. We haven't touched so much on their safety from bad people yet. The main lesson here lately has been gun safety, since obviously, we have to keep them in our home. (And because our entire country seems obsessed with gun talk lately.)

    They have learned their address for the most part, and we showed them how to use our phones to make a phone call in an emergency (We need to review that one, actually, since we haven't practiced in awhile).

    We don't have many beggars at all in our area. Even in H'ville, they are pretty few in number. I like to say even the people on the street are more polite here in the South--I can't imagine anyone actually approaching the car window here. Of course, I realize that's quite an over-generalization! : )

    Interesting thoughts, and I love seeing others' responses!

  11. I have not had any conversations with the kids about stranger danger and only in the past week have they learned about 'good guys/bad guys'.
    Where I live, in NYC, we see many (too many sadly) homeless and beggars on our streets. Young, old, alone, in groups--they are a part of our everyday lives. And we are on the streets WITH them, not in a car.
    So, I think they are used to 'others' as far as that goes. I always make a point of saying that we are all different and some people make bad choices. Of course then they want to know WHY people make bad choices!
    I know I probably should have a deeper discussion with them about bad strangers but I'm terrified of scaring them. They won't even say hello to our neighbors who we see on a regular basis! Chatty with strangers they are NOT. Still....


  12. HAHA. Loved this post. I usually have change in the car for car guards and so if I can give money (never more than R2) then I give. I also give food if I have. Kids are usually wasteful so there’s always something. Also, Joshua knows that he can give his unfinished lunch so if he has then he gives. I haven’t had the bad people conversation with Joel – he wouldn’t understand. I did have it with Joshua. I explained about sin and sickness in mind and that we need to pray for them AND be sensible. I explained that one cannot assume that people are bad if they are dirty or smelly. Lance thinks exactly like you btw...throw them in jail, don’t pray for them, kill them dead.

    Having a good old LOL at you and Kendra who want a blonde Alice. Did I tell you that I asked Lance to paint me a Divine Mercy image? Here’s a link to one: https://www.google.co.za/search?q=divine+mercy+image&safe=off&hl=en&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=P-iYUYm_CKre7AaBrYCICQ&sqi=2&ved=0CCwQsAQ&biw=1280&bih=724

    I told him that I don’t want a white Jesus. I want a Jesus who looks like me – in other words, a Jesus with brown skin and dark hair. I know that this is contentious and some may view it as petty and I agree that it's irrelevant. But I really want a Jesus in our house who looks like us – the blonde, blue-eyed Jesus images don’t do it for me!

  13. oh man. coming from the murder capital of the US i have mixed feelings. on the one hand i want my kids to be friendly and not judge people by how the look. on the other hand i don't want them being too trusting. we haven't had a specific talk about bad people, but i think they get it. i'll have to do some investigation and see how much they know!!

  14. We've not had to have this discussion yet with K. It is a part of living here I'm afraid.


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