You may not have known this about me, but I am the Patron Saint of Lost Children.
Any, and every, lost child will seek me out, and I will comfort them and find their parent. It has happened 3 times in the last week alone. And I am happy to do this because I have a child who routinely gets lost (yup, it's Bethie. And Bethie swears that it is I who is lost, not her. Sigh). Once, mall security was involved. Not because I requested their assistance, but because I (apparently) panic quite loudly.
Funny little side note: Mall security was useless because they announced that they had found my little darling and she was safe in the arms of her father. When I rushed over to her, I became very annoyed and said "That's not my missing child, that's her twin. Look for someone who looks JUST LIKE HER!".
Even though I am the Patron Saint of Lost Children, I understand that these behaviours are not exclusive to me. The vast majority of people, of either sex or any age, will help a lost child. In fact, Bethie was once "rescued" by a 7 year old. As a result, I have always encouraged my children to talk to strangers. If they need help, find someone who looks kind and let them help you.
Of course, the school disagrees with me and has informed all the children never to talk to strangers. The twinnies wondered out loud (as is their way) about how I could be so idiotic as to encourage my little darlings to ask strangers for help when they are in need of assistance. Sigh.
I explained that most people are good and most people will help children.
They worried about being kidnapped. I informed them about the "Ransom of Red Chief" and reassured my little angels that nobody wants them!
And then I felt badly. Because I want them. I want them to be safe. I want to help navigate their way through a terrifying and highly unlikely situation.
I told the twinnies that if anyone should try to kidnap them, they are to yell as loud as they could "This is NOT my Mummy" (or Daddy). They are to pitch an almighty fit. They have my full permission to knock things off the shelf, to fight, to bite, to do whatever it takes to get people (strangers, the good ones) to look at them and to step in. We talked about how it is important to keep shouting "This is NOT my Mummy" as opposed to just screaming. Strangers will help if they think children are being kidnapped, but will simply cluck their tongues if they think children are being naughty. I even practiced this with the twinnies.
At the end of this conversation, I looked both girls in the eye and said "Do you know what will happen if you pull this stunt with me?".
Katie said with such sureness, "You will beat us". This from the child who has never been beaten, hit, punched, or (let's be honest) disciplined in any way, shape or form. So, no, I will not "beat" them.
Bethie said, "You will kill us". Umm...not literally, which is how she meant it. What is wrong with my children?
I informed my sweet cherubs that if they pitched a fit for me while in a store and shouted out "This is NOT my Mummy", I would reply "Quite right! I'm not!" and then I would giggle while skipping out of the store... without them. Because the Patron Saint of Lost Children has no problem intentionally "losing" any bad ones!