When I was a child, I was fortunate to have loving adults like Mr. Brolly in my life. The warmth of this four-minute animated film from BBC Northern Ireland brings them to mind. I caught courage from them because they cared enough to share their wisdom.
Today families are pressured to teach their children to be afraid of strangers. Not just observant and cautious, something my mother taught me as well. Now children are supposed to be afraid.
Statistically, children are more likely to be in danger at home or with acquaintances. Cyber bullying and Internet predators add to parents’ real fears. [An excellent article that looks behind the fears appeared in 2007 in The Tyee, an independent Canadian news source.]
This isn’t to say children shouldn’t be taught due care, but young people who grow up without daring to meet the Mr. Brollys are in another kind of danger. They are in danger of seeing the world as a hostile, instead of welcoming, place.