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I walk each morning through my neighborhood.
My walk takes me past an elementary school, as children and their parents are walking to and from the school. I greet each person I pass with a simple, "Morning," and continue my walk.
Some children are accompanied by their parents, others are not. I don't stop or slow down — I merely smile and greet people as I walk by.
I give each child a wide berth, walking into the street to make sure they don't feel threatened. Also, as a lifelong musician, whenever I see a child carrying a musical instrument, I make a simple remark such as, "Glad to see a fellow musician."
The school guards always say hello, so I'm known in the area.
I wonder: Should I continue to speak to children without their parents present? In today's climate, one never knows if a child, or parent, would feel threatened by a single man. I would absolutely hate to scare a child.
Any advice for a grandfather?
– Father and PawPaw
Dear PawPaw: Yes, please continue to greet children, whether or not they are with an adult.
I don’t think it’s appropriate to attempt to engage kids in extended conversations (since you’re a stranger), but you get to be the “Hello-guy” on your morning route, and that’s a beautiful thing.