Parenting Fail: A Stranger Found My Child

Yesterday, I wrote about the way we encourage each other to be afraid of everything, by spreading our “scary stories” of things that could go wrong–even when our stories amount to nothing but a feeling we had about a guy at the store.

We lament “You can’t trust anyone.”  And then we confirm it to ourselves over and over, by focusing like lasers on the creepy, scary, worst-cases.

We actively teach ourselves (and our children) to see everyone as a potential-killer, and then we assure each other it’s necessary; we have to do that…because strangers are dangerous.

But, what happens when someone needs help, with no one but a stranger around?

A few weeks ago, my parenting fail could have become a scary Facebook warning…but it didn’t.


I was teaching school to my oldest daughter, Cami, at my parents’ house, where we go two days a week.

Cami’s best buddy, Olivia, lives on the same block and is also homeschooled, so the girls do their school together on those days.  I had just finished their lessons, so they asked to walk back to Olivia’s house together.

They had done this dozens of times.

The backyards of the two houses practically touch each other.  Usually they go out the backdoor of one house, across the alley, and into the backyard of the other.

What I didn’t realize was Olivia’s back gate was locked…

This wasn’t a problem for Olivia. She took Cami around to the front door, and then said goodbye.  But, the detour got Cami all turned around because, apparently, she has the same directional sense as her father.  😉

Trying to get back to her grandparents’ house, Cami ended up crossing a steet, and then another…and another. Meanwhile, I was waiting for her, unaware I should be concerned yet!

About 15 minutes later, there was a knock on the front door, and Cami was standing with a woman I’d never seen before.

“She was running down the sidewalk crying,”  the lady explained.

Uh… say, what???   I struggled to wrap my mind around the mental image.

“She got lost? How?  WHERE?”

“We found her about three blocks away,” the lady pointed East. “At first, she didn’t want to talk to me, but she did great. She knew her name and your name–and what color the house was…”

I focused my attention on Cami, “Why did you cross the street, baby? You’ve walked back and forth from Olivia’s house lots of times!”    (Eventually, we worked out that the gate had been locked.)

I was still in shock, but I thanked the woman and assured her we’d be more careful in the future.  And then my mind started playing all the “What If” scenarios.

My baby was just holding hands with a stranger…she told the stranger her name and age and where she lived… she got in the stranger’s car!!!

Oh my goodness!!!!

It was nauseating, until I realized…if she hadn’t done those things, she’d still be lost.

The Kind Stranger made sure that something much, much worse didn’t happen.

Consider the story told by Ken Davis, of losing his granddaughter in the mountains.  (Get the tissues.)  That little girl had been lost for hours, and still her first words to the couple that found her were, “I can’t talk to you.”

Thank God those Kind Strangers still worked to gain her trust and then reunited her with her family.

Later on the afternoon of Cami’s ordeal, I noticed a missed call from what looked like a spam account on Facebook.

“Who in the world is Tiffany?”  I asked out loud.  “Probably a scam caller trying to get money.”

But Cami corrected me.

“Tiffany is that girl who found me.”

Suddenly, that weird, suspicious call from a stranger meant something totally different. “The Stranger” had a name.

I sent Tiffany a message thanking her again for taking care of my girl when I wasn’t there.
And, far from asking for money, she responded:

No problem, I’m glad I could help! I have a son her age and I know how their minds wander. LOL 🙂 please tell her she did an excellent job answering my questions… I hope if my son was ever in that position that he would do as well as she did.

Sometimes strangers are teachers.

Sometimes strangers are doctors and police officers.

Many times, they’re also parents, who see the face of their own child when they look at yours in trouble.

Maybe I’m too trusting.  And maybe someday you’ll see my face on the news, having paid the ultimate price for letting my children explore their neighborhoods.

But I still believe it’s a shame that all strangers are treated with bad assumptions, based solely on the actions of a few.

There are some truly wonderful people in your community–probably more good ones than bad.  Most of us are just friends who don’t yet know each other’s names.

Yes, You CAN Be Too Careful

Am I the only one noticing an increase of warnings on Facebook, along the lines of “I SAW A CREEPY PERSON AND I’M POSITIVE HE/SHE WAS TRYING TO HURT ME”  ?

Maybe it’s just a coincidence. Or maybe the alarmist stories have been around a long time, and I’m just now paying attention.

Here’s an example from 2015:


And from 2016:


And one posted three days ago:


And let’s not forget the bad guys giving away free samples at Walmart, or the bad guys drugging people at Dillard’s, or the bad guys taking kids out of theme parks,  or the bad guy pulling people into white vans, or the bad guys posing as plumbers, or the bad guys posing at teen-employers...

Also, don’t accept candy.

And don’t accept business cards.

And even if someone SAYS they’re a kidnapper, you should still be suspicious.



In other words, trust no one. Then, when you have your own harrowing story of life-or-death (and you will!), make sure you share it with the world.

This was the near-miss I posted about today.


Now that I’m thinking about this, perhaps all of us should be especially distrustful of someone who worries about everything?

I mean, even if there isn’t a “bad guy” in the store–what if there’s a jumpy person nearby who thinks I’M the bad guy?

Women should carry pepper spray and handbags filled with rocks just in case.

If the stranger next to you spends too much time reading scary warnings on social media…and if you try to hand her a piece of gum or a business card…well, you see where I’m going with this.

You can’t be too careful!

Also–beware of a new scam. Psych professionals are diagnosing people with something called “paranoid personality disorder.”

Don’t fall for it.

This is What Equality Feels Like

You want to be treated like an equal in society?
This is how I treat everyone who makes his/her feelings the center of an issue:
It’s not about you.
Seriously, that’s what I say to everyone in our self-focused culture.
Mothers who want special treatment?
Americans who need protection from words?
Single people whose needs aren’t being met in some nonspecific way? (My own grandmother was upset with me over that one. But we were on the same page in the end!)
When I think people are wallowing in self-pity and trying to make the world revolve around them, I say something.
So, this is for you, people struggling with gay attraction.
It’s not about you.
My decision not to let my 5-year-old see the new Beauty and the Beast movie (featuring “Disney’s first openly-gay character”) has nothing to do with your feelings.
Which means I give about as much value to your feelings as I do my own.
This is what equality feels like.
I won’t be more diplomatic while I’m slaughtering your sacred cows than I have been with anyone else.
This week, Christians have been told:
-“Stop freaking out” “calm down” and “chill out.”
-“Gay people exist…and in real life, people lie. People cheat. People steal. People have affairs and pre-marital sex.”
-Boycotting Beauty and the Beast will be “harmful to the Christian Gospel” because “[it] suggests Christians are offended by the existence of gay people – even if that’s not how the boycotter intends it.”
-Plus a bunch of other warnings that Christians are hypocrites for boycotting a movie over homosexuality, instead of treating it the same as any other sin.
…except, all the finger-wagging at Christians is proof that homosexuality is NOT exactly like every other sin.
Gayness is the exception because gayness is the sin that our culture is glad to endorse.
Consider that the director of the movie said, “This is part of a celebration of love.”
And the actor who plays the gay character said he was “honored” to be a part of the movie which others have called history-making.
Would there be this much fanfare surrounding Disney’s first portrayal of any other sexual preference? 
If a movie aimed at kids portrayed a character “struggling with his feelings” for a stripper, I think we’d see an outcry…but that would be especially true if the people who made the movie treated it like some sort of cultural milestone.
So, gay people, please don’t make this about your feelings.
And, Christians, please don’t fall for the bait-and-switch that homosexuality is no worse than other sins–when Hollywood actively promotes it as BETTER.
As I said on Facebook:
3.7.17 Beauty and the Beast

If you agree with that perspective, but you’re still making excuses for the normalization of homosexuality in Beauty and the Beast, then YOU are the hypocrite who expects special treatment for your favorite sin…

Or course, I agree that Christians ought to be consistent with their criticism.

So, I promise, the next time a director proudly announces the “first-ever character who looks at pornography,” I’ll be outspokenly against showing the film to my very young child.    (At least until her age is greater than the number of fingers on one hand.)

This is how I handle the ridiculous double-standards of liberal culture. Expecting me to make a special exception to spare the feelings of gay people would be unequal.

All Laws Are Religious



I’m not even mad that people still throw around the “church and state” phrase without knowing where it comes from. (Go ahead: point to a law that says religion can’t influence laws. Go ahead.)

But, I’ll admit, it bugs me when people think their views on gay marriage and abortion don’t count as “religious,” just because they don’t believe in God.

Too many ignorant Americans actually believe there is such thing as a law that is non-religious.

There isn’t.

Because their opinion that there’s nothing wrong with same-sex marriage and abortion come from their moral beliefs, too…

Those opinions aren’t automatically logical and scientific and objective, just because you don’t believe in God.

All laws are about figuring out what’s right vs. what’s wrong, and that will always be a religious question.

So, please don’t share this meme, or mindlessly utter the phrase “separation of church and state,” anymore.  Please?

I get it. You don’t understand laws, and you’ve never read the Constitution (or anything longer than this blog post), and you think that when you quote your gay friend who had an abortion it makes your opinion more valuable than someone who quotes the Bible.

I understand.

But, you look silly, because your sense of morality comes from the religion of your culture, too.

Don’t believe me?

Go ahead and give me a non-religious reason to make gay marriage legal. Give me one non-religious reason to allow you to end the life of a healthy fetus.

Go ahead.

The Sin That Didn’t Have to Be…

This is a true story.

Though, I’ll admit, the details are a little fuzzy.

Let’s say it was Collin (my middle child), allowing that it might have been his big sister, Cami. And let’s say it was a granola bar, though it could have been a cookie or cracker…


Once upon a time, I sent my kids to the kitchen to pick out their snack.  From the other room, I listened to the sounds of cupboards opening and packets crinkling, which would be strictly forbidden, without my permission.

But it was fine–because I knew they were hungry, and I actually told them to go find something to eat.

That’s why I was a little confused when I walked around the corner and Collin jumped about six feet, as if he’d been caught red-handed.

Then he hid his granola bar behind his back.

“What are you doing?”  I asked, perplexed.

My boy gave me the guiltiest look before saying, “Nuffing!”

“Well, what are you hiding behind you?” I tried.

And, again–Collin insisted.


So, that’s the true story of the day my son got in trouble for doing what he only THOUGHT was a bad thing.

The moral I gave him was this one:

If you think something is wrong, and you do it anyway, then it’s wrong, even when it didn’t have to be.

“I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” –Jeremiah 17:10

“I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.”  –Romans 14:14

Age of Consent

I wrote about the tricky Age of Consent laws nearly three years ago. But (not-so-surprisingly) very few people wanted to get involved with the topic.

I think that’s a mistake. Because the issue of adult-child “relationships” is going to come up again and again in the future. It has the potential to divide traditional, religious Conservatives from the secular, “alternative” ones.

This was apparent just yesterday, when popular bloggers Milo Yiannoupolous and Matt Walsh engaged in a heated social media debate.  You can read about the Milo/Matt situation on one of Matt’s Facebook posts.

Anyway, here’s what I wrote back in 2014:

Cultures at War

I’ve been binge-watching House M.D. on Netflix for several weeks now.  But, the following scene struck me enough to stop the furious pace and transcribe the conversation.  It fits perfectly in a blog discussing cultural differences…

A 17-year-old girl has been stalking Dr. House, very overtly trying to seduce him. Close friends warn him to keep his distance–which he more or less tries to do. But the girl is insistent. Finally, she corners him in a parking garage.

Girl: “In Iceland the age of consent is 14.”

House: “I’m surprised that tourism isn’t a bigger industry up there.”

Girl: “So today I’m jailbait. But in 22 weeks anybody can do anything to me. Will I be so different in 22 weeks?”

House: “22-weeks is enough for a fetus to grow arms and legs.”

Girl: “It’s just a line. An arbitrary line drawn by a bunch of sad old men in…

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It’s All a Big Hoax

Attention, anyone who has been told they are “color blind.”  Don’t believe that! You’re perfect the way you are, and no one should tell you any differently!

Color-blindness is a hoax!

It’s all a scam!


And, if anyone tries to tell you they can “see” green or red or yellow, they’re just trying to get control over you.  

Don’t believe me?  Well, here’s a question for all those people who supposedly “see” colors: why can’t anyone agree what they look like?

If other people really can see colors, then they ought to be able to describe them with at least a little consistency, wouldn’t you think?  Do they really expect you to believe it’s just “hard to explain” but “you’d understand if you could see the whole color spectrum, too.”


Yeah, right.

If THAT’S not suspicious enough, just Google “Colors aren’t real.”   You will see dozens of articles where expert debate this very topic.

Many scientists will come right out and say, “Colors don’t exist. Our brains have only made them up.

In other words, humans have only imagined them! (Well not ALL humans have imagined them, of course. The brains of colorblind people don’t make up such nonsense.)

Sure, there are scientists who say that even imaginary things are “real” in an important sense. They will say that perception is part of reality. They will say that thoughts and feelings EXIST, though they aren’t made of “stuff.”

In fact, James Jeans said the entire Universe is more like a “thought” than like a “machine.”


But that’s just his opinion.  Why should we listen to him?


And, that’s why I’m blowing the roof off this “colorblindness” hoax once and for all.

If you’ve been told you’re somehow lacking because your brain doesn’t trick you the way most people’s brains trick them, don’t believe it.

You’re not blind. (What a horrible thing to tell a child!)

It’s the Color-Seeing people who have been indoctrinating each other.

Go ahead and try to prove that I’m wrong.