Thoughts Lead To Appreciation
Growing up in the city of Enugu in the South-East of Nigeria, I received the same words of warning, with the modifier.
Do not take gifts from strangers.
That applied, specifically, to strangers and was a valuable piece of advice, for kidnappers utilised biscuits and sweets to lure children.
Incidentally, there was no word of caution against strangers in Isuikwuato towns of Umuasua and Otampa, my respective hometowns.
These days, parents with a hypocritical attitude train their sons and daughters to demonstrate a poor home upbringing by rejecting items from persons known to the parents and with whom the parents are in good terms.
That raises the question, or series of questions:
Who is a stranger?
A stranger is a person
The corollary is:
Depending on what constitutes a stranger, the advice is valid for every situation.
For the purposes of these publications on strangers, a stranger is someone unknown to us and with whom we do not interact, for through interaction do we get to know each other.
Therefore, a next-door neighbour is a stranger, provided there is no interaction.
I have been – and still am – protected by total strangers and, frequently, betrayed by trusted family and friends.
If I were wary of strangers, I could not, possibly, live the type of life I do, today.
We are more at risk of harm from persons known to us: family, friends and other social circle than from total strangers.
I could well be dead by now, murdered by friends, not entirely, but through indirect endorsement of the nefarious deeds of my detractors.
The advice, in any circumstance, to young persons is:
Know when to end an interaction. And, keep the interaction ‘ended’.
Pass every relevant information to the police.
Be wary of any one trying to convince one to drop any case or reconcile with one’s enemies.
The keyword for personal safety is trust.
The critical assessment is not whether the individual is a stranger, friend, neighbour, or a chance acquaintance.
The presence of trust creates a common ground of mutual goodwill.
How, then, can a young adult determine the trustworthy level of a complete stranger?
A lifelong principle of mine asserts that in the absence of a reason to the contrary, a stranger is much more deserving of my trust than one who has already abused that trust.
In the absence of nothing, a stranger could be a lifesaver, whereas a trusted person could use that opportunity to destroy the lifesaving device.
In simple terms, how a person behaves at any one time is a manifestation of their character.
One more useful remark:
Say NO, mean NO and do not entertain questions or suggestions about that NO.
Practise saying No within one’s heart.
The heart is the best site for practising self-confidence, for in times of need, the certainty of the heart enables the child avoid prolonging an interaction that ought to be severed.
With a brilliant self-preservation mechanism founded on common sense and self-confidence, the young person finds the goodness in strangers outweighs the dangers posed by strangers.