I know I’m only a little kid and I’m not supposed to worry, or even know about stuff like this, but it seems as though it happens often, or certainly a lot more than people realise.
My friend Ginny and her husband were privileged to go to funeral in a township last week. That probably does not sound very good – the fact that it was a funeral was terrible, but the type of funeral was completely different to any they had ever attended before. Everybody really celebrated the life that had been lost to the fullest, on a very different level to what goes on in traditional Anglican, Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist or NG Churches—where everything is usually very restrained and goes by the book. There are no unexpected incidents. The longest a service will ever last is around an hour.
This funeral started at 08h00 and carried on until 13h00. After all the speakers had had their say, then it was the preachers’ turn and he was totally marvellous, in a scary kind of very loud way. The temperature was approximately six degrees in the school hall, and one of the other congregants said that they could go outside and warm themselves up in the sun if they were cold (which they were – freezing in fact, despite being bundled up in numerous layers of clothing) but they were unwilling to miss a single thing. After the funeral, which included going to the grave site, everybody was saying ‘that was a really good send-off’ and they mostly seemed to be at peace.
But Ginny wasn’t. She was really unhappy that the guy had died in the first place, because it was so unnecessary and sad. He was young and had not even hit a quarter of a century yet. Both he and his friend had been coerced into having drinks that were spiked with something nasty. His friend luckily survived, but tragically, he didn’t. Worse, the callous floozies who forced the drinks on them stole their cell phones, wallets and other personal possessions while they were in a deeply drugged state.
You always hear about this happening to girls and ladies, but not often to men. But here it happened, with heart-breaking consequences. Bottom line is, don’t leave your drink unattended at a party or a bar – and never, ever let yourself be forced into drinking something against your will. There are unscrupulous people out there who will do anything for money.
I have to share this exciting news with you all. Last Monday we found out that one of my books “Sibo on the Move” got an award. Actually it got two awards – one national and one international. How cool is that?
The funniest was that we had no idea it had even been entered into any competitions. So the whole thing came as a total surprise when Ingrid Jensen (Executive Manager Reputation at Gautrain Management Agency) called to say that they had won awards for the book in the category of writing.
For those who don’t know, this book was commissioned by the Gautrain a few years ago and the topic was etiquette whilst using public transport.
In a nutshell – manners!
The Gautrain is very spiffy. Clean, safe and lovely to travel in and it’s important to keep it that way. People sometimes forget or just don’t care that they’re sharing a public space with other travelers and it is vital to be considerate. Little things, like not talking, or listening to music too loudly. Or not putting your feet on the seat – so that when the next person sits on it, they get their clothes dirty.
Worse… aaarrrgghhhh… seriously gross… sticking old chewed gum under the seat! Oh my word – that is just so gross.
There are also special spaces on the Gautrain for people with disabilities, to make life a little easier and safer for them. Able-bodied people should not sit there. Just don’t do it… okay?
Gautrain is very safety conscious too. If you have travelled on the train, you’ll know that there is a yellow line on the platform that you have to wait behind when a train is approaching. (This is for your safety – not because they want to be mean.) Once the train stops – the correct etiquette is to let the other passengers get off the train first. But all too often people are worried that they are going to miss the train – or they’re just plain rude – and they barge in without even thinking about the poor folk who are trying to get out.
Seriously people – it’s not hard. Just be considerate. Be kind. Be nice. It costs absolutely nothing and it makes such a difference. This goes for all public transport.
The National award was called the Silver Quill Award and the International one was called the Gold Quill Award of Excellence.
Last week we mentioned those horrible statistics of 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 8 boys being sexually abused before they turn 18. And these are only the reported stats – they’re probably much higher than this.
SCARY FACT: Pedophiles are mostly people who come across as very likable souls. They are friendly and engaging.
The sad truth is usually predators are most often hidden in plain sight. This means that ninety per cent of the time they are people you know and trust.
But really they are sneaky weasels who target their victims very carefully. They select their victim and then make a plan to get the child (and their family) comfortable with them before they strike.
They go to the same church, schools, sports and other activities and spend time chatting to you and your kids.
They specifically look for those individuals that have issues. Like kids looking for extra attention or love. They pick on shy children or those who might lack confidence. They look for loners who could be longing for friendship.
Yes – it sounds much too calculated to be true – but this is often how it happens.
They ingratiate their way into your family, bring the child little gifts and shower them with attention. They look for any opportunity to be alone with the youngster. Often this might seem like a very generous gesture and you can’t believe how nice somebody is being in your time of need. Beware! They could have ulterior motives.
Predators often hug and kiss your kid a lot and “accidentally” walk into the bathroom when they are in the bath or on the toilet. They also test your child to see if they can keep a secret.
Do not let this happen!
Encourage open communication in your household. Your children should be able to speak up when they don’t feel comfortable about something. Kids know long before adults do.
Have a “no secrets” policy. They don’t keep secrets for anyone or from anybody, ever.
Allow your children to choose who they kiss and hug.Don’t force them to kiss smelly old Uncle Fred hello just because he is family. Paedophiles are often family too.
Set boundaries. Make sure your kids know what those boundaries are.
Be a visible parent. It’s hard to abuse your kid if you are always around and involved.
Trust your gut – if something does not feel right, it probably isn’t.
Protect your kids please people – don’t let them become statistics.
Last week was World Health Day – it is one thing to stay healthy by eating and exercising – but it does not help if you have a healthy body and get yourself into an unhealthy situation!
There have been a number of scary incidents around the country recently where people have tried to steal children – in some case from right under their parental agent’s noses. How crazy is that?
Sadly child trafficking is alive and well and happens much more that we would like to think.
Here are a few simple rules to help keep your children safe:
Teach your kids about different types of strangers. You do not want your children to think that everybody they don’t know is a bad person. There are different types of strangers. People who try to tempt children with sweets or stuff to lure them into cars are BAD! Adults who ask kids for help are also BAD.
Don’t let them run away from you in the shops or a public place. It’s not cool for them to hide – it gives you a heart attack and it gives some nasty weasel the opportunity to snatch your kid.
Teach your kids to STAY WHERE THEY ARE and shout YOUR NAME if you get separated. They should not shout “mummy” because some other kid might also be having a meltdown and be yelling the same thing. Sounds silly – but make sure your kids know your name. Teach them not to run up and down looking for you because that will make the situation worse.
Tell you kids to look for a HELPFUL person if they do get totally lost or something happens. A policeman, a teacher, a shop assistant or another mum or dad with a pushchair or kids of their own with them.
Impress upon your children that they should NEVER EVER get in a car with a STRANGER. No matter what story the person tells them.
If somebody tries to grab them – it really is okay to shout, kick, scream, bite or do whatever they can to get away.
But even worse… people that you know and trust are often the worst offenders when it comes to abusing kids. Research shows that 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 8 boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18. Totally horrific!