A sad comment on our society today

This past weekend I had a meeting with my editor to do some fine tuning on The Ruby Queen at a coffee shop we frequent in downtown Phoenix. When our meeting ended and I was leaving, a young man with his three very young children were coming in. He herded the little group along on their small bicycles. They stopped and began to make their way up the stairs as I was passing. I heard him telling the little ones to move their bikes closer to the side of the stairs or someone would steal them. One of the little ones, not more than 4 asked why someone would steal their bikes. The young father just told her to move the bike because people now are just thieves.
I found this very sad. We now have to teach our children NOT to trust people. When I was a child, and that was a good fifty years ago, we and my parents would have thought nothing of leaving our bikes on the sidewalk by the street in front of a business while we went inside. Of course, we lived in a small town where everyone knew one another and parents would have recognized another kid’s bike if their kid came home with it. We never locked the doors on our house when we went to bed or the windows if we went away for an extended trip. The cars were never locked and the keys were usually left in them. If my parents brought the car keys in the house, they’d have to get new ones made because they’d never be found again.
We were, of course, taught never to talk to strangers, but there were no strangers in our little town, if you didn’t know people from church or school, you knew them because they hung out at the local store.
I know times are different now, but it just broke my heart to hear the man telling his child that everyone out there is looking to steal what you have. Childhood is supposed to be a time of innocence. Now we have to strip that innocence away at younger and younger ages.
And that is my two cents for a Monday.

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