I've been horrified this week as the news out of Penn State has developed. Horrified, disgusted, and then terrified. Mr. Sandusky is just one who got caught. I'm fully aware there are others like him still preying on, and destroying the innocence of young children. I want, more than anything, to protect my children from men like Sandusky.
So, yesterday while we were driving home from Chuck E. Cheese, I turned off the radio and decided to have a conversation with my three boys. They were strapped in, we were driving on the freeway, there was no place for them to go.
I wasn't sure how to start, so I asked them about their trips to public restrooms.
"Has anyone ever tried to talk to you while you were in a public bathroom?" I usually stand at the door and tell them to yell super loud if anyone makes them uncomfortable and assure them I will run in to help immediately. So I was pretty sure I knew the answer to this question.
"No," they all assured me. So I got more specific.
"No one has ever tried to get you to go into a stall with them, or anything like that?"
"No!" they said again. "Of course not."
I kept going. "You know that it's okay to tell a grown up 'no' if they are asking you to do things that are wrong, or things that make you uncomfortable. No one should ever touch you in places that are covered by a bathing suit. And you can always tell me anything that you feel weird about. I will always help you."
"Okay," they said.
"Sometimes a grown up will make you feel uncomfortable and you might not know why. They don't even have to do or say anything. You just might not like being around them. And that's okay too."
"Yeah, I've felt that way before," Jonah said.
This was it! I'd ferreted out the information that would protect my boys! "Really?" I said. "Who makes you feel uncomfortable?"
"Midgets," Jonah said.
"That one in Taco Bell?" Isaac asked.
"Yeah. That was weird."
So we're in the clear as far as sexual predators go, but maybe need to work a bit on height bias.