This morning as I waited to board a train to visit a client, I overheard the teacher in charge of a boisterous primary school party admonish a young girl of around eight years old for telling the station guard her name when he asked.
"Now he knows your name and what school you go to," he chided. "You have to be careful of giving out personal information. We don't talk to strangers, do we?"
As I listened, something occurred to me. As a child, I was warned of the dangers of talking to people I didn't know, too.
As a result, the adult me can be awkward and reluctant when faced with a room filled with strangers. As you can imagine, networking delivers mixed results. I never made the connection before today, but I can't help but feel that perhaps my unease can be attributed to the numerous warnings I received, and some pretty grim public information films on the subject- it was the Seventies after all.
So, how do I shake that fear of talking to strangers? I'll try to imagine that they saw the same films and are heeding the same warnings. That might start a shift in thinking, right?
Parents- how do you strike the balance between protecting your child and preparing them for the fact that one day, they WILL have to talk to people they don't know?