Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Fine Line

One lesson that we have to stress with the Big Kid is about strangers.  He is quite outgoing, and for a long time he would have no problem just approaching anyone with a big "Hi!  My name is Will!  What are you doing?"  It could be a bit unnerving, because you want to teach your kids that strangers are bad, but you don't want them thinking that everyone around them that they do not know is someone wishing them harm.  School has helped a bit with this, but still, there have been times where we have been shopping in Target and Will begins to announce "There's a stranger in this aisle!  Mommy....stranger!" While I applaud that he is realizing that his world can be a dangerous place, I don't want him afraid of everyone.

The dog had a grooming appointment, and Will begged to go with me to drop him off.  Afterwards, we wandered off towards Michael's, where I could spend hours by myself.  :)  We headed to the yarn aisle (naturally) to look for some yarn for a swap that I am participating in on Ravelry.  

There was a woman in the yarn aisle, older than me and wearing jeans and a pink cardigan sweater.  She sees us looking at the yarn and Will asking for me to teach him to knit, and says    "Excuse me....could I ask your opinion on this yarn?" This is not the first time that this has happened to me, I enjoy talking to other yarn lovers in places like this.  We got to talking, while Will hid behind me a little bit.  Her name was Debbie, and she is a bus driver in a town nearby.  She was going to make a pink and white blanket, and wasn't sure the two yarns that she picked out worked together.  (They didn't.)  We were in the baby yarn aisle and I suggested a brand and asked if she was going to make it for a baby.  She said no, that she was crocheting it for her daughter-in-law.  Then the bomb dropped---the daughter-in-law is 23 years old and has recently been diagnosed with ALS.  (Lou Gehrig's disease.)  She said that she hadn't crocheted in years....but wanted to do something to think about something other than the awful cards that the family has been dealt. I can understand that.... as I often turn to my knitting and yarn when I need some soothing.  

I recommended a yarn to her for her project, Lion Brand "Pound of Love," because it is durable, soft acrylic and can be tossed in the washer and dryer.  And hey, look at that, it's on sale!  However, there was plenty of pink, but no white.  I suggested that she ask if Michael's has some in the back room, and she thanked me.  Will and I made our way to the other yarns.  We ran into her later, and she said that they had no more white.  After a second to think, I handed her my business card and told her that if she still wanted to make it in pink and white that I had a big ball of white Pound of Love at home that I wasn't using.  She almost burst into tears, and probably didn't believe that this stranger in the yarn aisle could be so nice.  She took the card and said that she would call.  

When we got to the car, Will of course called me out for talking to a stranger.  (He did warm up to her, by the way, and tell her that his name was Will.)  I explained the exact thing that I have been thinking what our teaching about strangers has been missing.  "Sometimes you have to show a stranger a little kindness, if that's what they need."

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