Comfort and Cuddles. . .
My oldest grandson is 8. He is a grandma’s boy, lucky for me. Even at the grand age of 8 he still loves to come to grandma’s house, whether for a short visit or to spend the night. And he still loves to cuddle. Not all the time mind you, but often enough that it comforts me a great deal.
He is a special child. Well, all four of them are special, but he is more so than the others. Not that he is loved or cherished more, or my favorite, but that he is literally special. He may not be able to fully cope with the demands of this world as the others will. He only sees the good in people, and doesn’t yet recognize the bad things that people are capable of.
From the time he was just a toddler, he would walk up to someone and raise his arms and want to be picked up. It didn’t matter who they were, old or young, familiar or not, he just wanted to be held. Every face was the face of a friend. Trustingly he would look up at them never knowing what harm they could do. Every person has an equal opportunity with him. Stranger danger is a concept he just doesn’t get.
In his experience, people are good. No one has hurt him, so he doesn’t understand that someone could. Yes, we all tell him that someone could, his parents, grandparents, and teachers. But he knows, deep down in his loving heart that we must be wrong.
How do we teach him this lesson without something devastating him, hurting him in some known or unknown way? How do we teach someone who walks a different path than the rest of the world to be wary of the dangers that he can’t even see or perceive?