As a child, I was taught not to trust strangers. “Don’t walk off with someone you don’t know” was drilled into me (as it is most kids). This was a solid lesson, especially for a kid that had a lot of energy.
Through my childhood and teenage years, I was reminded of this – you can trust family, close friends, teachers and so on. Strangers? They’re probably out to get you.
I remember rumors of a guy that used to hang outside of my primary school offering sweets to kids, drugging them. He probably had a van. Flyers went out to parents. Parents lost their minds. Mum gave me a stern talking to. Then we discovered it was all bullshit. But of course everyone remained scared.
Irony is, multiple teachers from my school have since been exposed and charged as pedos, including some all trusted priests, the pillars of society that they are. For those wondering, no – I didn’t receive the advances of said teachers or priests.
Even in my early adult years, my parents, extended family, friends and strangers on the internet have all given me unsolicited advice on trusting those I don’t know, whether it be with my money, diet, lifestyle, travel, politics and various other topics.
This isn’t meant to sound dramatic. My upbringing really was a normal one and my social circles are very standard. My parents didn’t wrap me in cotton wool like your average parent of today. By age 3 I was riding my bike up and down our street without shoes, likely waving to strangers and patting dogs I didn’t know without concern. Blanket distrust of strangers was something I had to learn and from what I’ve seen in friends, I’d say it’s the norm for most of us – at least from cities Australia and similar cultures around the world.
Frankly, I do think this distrust has helped me from being used during my impressionable years, but I’m getting the feeling that there’s a shelf life on how long it’s good for. Now I consider the lost opportunities as a result of not taking a risk here and there. How many experiences have been missed? How much money could have been made?