The Innocent Relationships Between Old Men and Children

We live in a time in which our guards are up. Pedophilia is a horrible crime in which an adult preys on innocent children — often the children, grandchildren, or other relatives of the perpetrator. There’s a reason other criminals look at them with disdain.

I have five children and eight grandchildren. My children are grown (and thus no longer the target of the pedophile). My biggest fears for them are the depredations of all-powerful nanny state. But I worry about someone preying on my gran…

  1. Crow

    TR: Great observations. We absolutely look askance at this today and it is tragic.

    I suppose I agree with all of those who have said already that our sex-drenched popular culture bears responsibility. Any quick glance at glossy fashion magazines is sufficient to demonstrate that the sexualization of children is disgustingly rampant.

    Among the casualties of this deviancy is the proper formation of love and eros in children themselves; their ability to form lasting relationships later in life is uprooted everywhere today.

    It seems we have completely lost the ability to address the first blooms of eros in youth and to direct these early longings into proper, healthy, beautiful forms. Almost absent are the grace of a Jane Austen, or Shakespeare. Instead these longings become immediately vulgarized, physical, reduced to the most base sexuality.

    We’ve entirely lost the sense that one of the emotions that accompanies the first shoots of this bloom is awe: the utter shock at the discovery of the other sex. The strange, simultaneous fear and intrigue we feel: fear at not knowing how to be alone with this other, intrigue in learning how to be.

  2. Fred Cole

    There are ways to help children in this regard:

    1. Know your children.  I once thought my cats to be suspiciously healthy.  I asked him how I’d know there was something wrong with my cats.  He said “You’ll know.”  

    If you know your children or grandchildren, you get to know their habits, how they react to things.  If there’s something wrong, you’ll notice a change.

  3. Fred Cole

    2. I knew a social worker who would go around educating kindergartners on how to avoid being the victims of sexual abuse.  

    It went like this:

    First, no grown up should touch you in your bathing suit area except for a doctor or a nurse.  And they would say bathing suit area, because all the children understood, and if you said underwear, they would giggle.

    Second, a surprise is a good thing, but a secret is a bad thing.  

    If I buy sneakers for your mother for Xmas, that’s a surprise.  Surprises are a good things!  Surprise presents, surprise parties.

    Secrets are a bad thing.  No grown up should ask you to keep a secret.  If they do, then tell someone.  A parent or a teacher.

    Usually in a season of doing this, she’d get half a dozen disclosures.

  4. Fred Cole

    Its important that children know enough to defend themselves, but not be made scared of the world.

    There’s a difference between a harmless older adult and a creepy pedophile.  The above mentioned basic instruction, written so children can understand it, will do that.

  5. Foxfier

    Much has been lost; look at the relationship between Fr0d0 and Bilbo, or Frodo and Sam, or Han and Chewie, or Kirk and Spock– and realize that a significant portion of my generation would interpret those as homosexual relationships, because “friends just aren’t that close.”

  6. Israel P.
    Foxfier: Much has been lost; look at the relationship between Fr0d0 and Bilbo, or Frodo and Sam, or Han and Chewie, or Kirk and Spock– and realize that a significant portion of my generation would interpret those as homosexual relationships, because “friends just aren’t that close.” · 10 hours ago

    Or as people used to say, David and Jonathan.

  7. Angmoh Gao

    Hear Hear TR. Valuable thoughts.

    I applaud Fred Cole too for the observations of responsible child protection however I do despair of how suspicion seems to have overwhelmed society.

    I hope for my children that they achieve positive relationships with older people and am very happy that they have the opportunity to spend part of their lives socializing with elderly neighbors in a rural village environment and don’t have to live all their lives absorbed in inner city paranoia. Not all are so lucky.

  8. tabula rasa
    Fred Cole: Its important that children know enough to defend themselves, but not be made scared of the world.

    There’s a difference between a harmless older adult and a creepy pedophile.  The above mentioned basic instruction, written so children can understand it, will do that. · 1 hour ago

    These are good, common sense ideas.  Thanks.

  9. tabula rasa
    Angmoh Gao: Hear Hear TR. Valuable thoughts.

    I applaud Fred Cole too for the observations of responsible child protection however I do despair of how suspicion seems to have overwhelmed society.

    I hope for my children that they achieve positive relationships with older people and am very happy that they have the opportunity to spend part of their lives socializing with elderly neighbors in a rural village environment and don’t have to live all their lives absorbed in inner city paranoia. Not all are so lucky. · 6 minutes ago

    My children have now lost all their grandparents, but I think they cherish their memories of them.

    My father had dentures, but was always happy to take them out and suck his face in when his grandchildren asked him to.  One of the reasons they respected him so much was that he was willing to look foolish for them. Occasionally it’s a good thing to be fun instead of dignified.

  10. flownover
    Where did this suspicion come from ? I hesitate to use a broad brush and blame something like feminism and the resulting attitudes towards men in general, but I can’t think of anything else so sweeping in it’s indictment of half the world other than that ? Is it related to the breakdown of the family unit, with the resulting incident rates going up as women left the home to go into the workforce, have the protectors left the home ?  Or perhaps an insidious PC that refuses to identify perverse activity for what it is ? The wholesale shutdown of mental health facilities ? The normalization of pornography ?

    Anyone have an opinion of the distasteful side of this otherwise wonderful post ? Thanks Tabula, of course your opinion would be highly regarded. What say you gramps ? 

  11. Nanda Panjandrum

    Lovely and bittersweet, TR!  (Off to order the Ker biography…).

  12. Lucy Pevensie
    Angmoh Gao: Hear Hear TR. Valuable thoughts.

    I applaud Fred Cole too for the observations of responsible child protection however I do despair of how suspicion seems to have overwhelmed society.

    Couldn’t agree more. 

  13. Fred Cole
    tabula rasa

    Fred Cole: Its important that children know enough to defend themselves, but not be made scared of the world.

    There’s a difference between a harmless older adult and a creepy pedophile.  The above mentioned basic instruction, written so children can understand it, will do that. · 1 hour ago

    These are good, common sense ideas.  Thanks. · 1 minute ago

    There’s a lot of people with kids and grand kids here, and its good stuff.  That whole secret/surprise thing really is great.  And I wanted to pass it along to help the people here.

    Children need information to be able to defend themselves.  They shouldn’t be scared of the world, but they should know enough to be able to ask for help.

  14. Fred Cole
    flownover: Where did this suspicion come from ? 

    It’s a product of media hysteria.  Then politicians picked up on the hysteria and exploited it.

  15. C. U. Douglas
    Foxfier: Much has been lost; look at the relationship between Fr0d0 and Bilbo, or Frodo and Sam, or Han and Chewie, or Kirk and Spock– and realize that a significant portion of my generation would interpret those as homosexual relationships, because “friends just aren’t that close.” · 1 hour ago

    Part of this is the sexualization of love, that is as a culture we equate love with sex, and have ceased to understand love without the trappings of sex.

    I appreciate Fred’s advice greatly, especially his second where it demonstrates to children just what is acceptable and what is not.

    I lament that we have to do such things nowadays at all.

  16. flownover
    Fred Cole

    flownover: Where did this suspicion come from ? 

    It’s a product of media hysteria.  Then politicians picked up on the hysteria and exploited it. · 49 minutes ago

    Well, I agree partially. What would Greta vonSusteren do without her dead blonde of the week or missing children ? Does this go all the way back to “Ace in the Hole” ?

  17. Angmoh Gao
    flownover: Where did this suspicion come from ?

    Anyone have an opinion of the distasteful side of this otherwise wonderful post ? 

    I am very sorry to sound a bum note since I am very much against the effects of prohibitive, preemptive, overreaction. However I think that we should not ignore the possibility that the crimes obliquely alluded to here have been more prevalent than society has been willing to admit. Increasingly and depressingly we are exposed to evidence of this. It is therefore perhaps appropriate to take an informed, rather than an hysterical approach.

    What is correctly to be despised is the hysteria that prevents our children from properly benefiting from contact with adults and especially those from the wiser, older strata. But we must beware the evil that is out there.

  18. DocJay

    There’s not an adult my delightful loving kids come in to contact with that do not know that I’d kill them if they molested my kids instead of calling the cops.   I say it with a smile but the recipient knows I’m potential homicidal regarding this.  I know I’ve scared people but it’s all the truth and pedophiles hide very very well so the likelihood they’d pick on a kid with a suspicious, screw missing dad is far less likely.  

    My kids have been educated almost exactly as Fred has outlined as well.  

    I’ve deliberately fostered my kids knowing Uncle Steve the race car mechanic and Uncle Chuck the hunter,writer extraordinaire as well as men in their 70′s and 80′s from whom love and affection can be given in a healthy fashion.   Most of these men are my patients and I know them very well.  

  19. Fred Cole
    Crow’s Nest

    Fred Cole: Children need information to be able to defend themselves.  They shouldn’t be scared of the world, but they should know enough to be able to ask for help.

    I am saddened to read things like this, Fred–not because you haven’t offered very practical advice that ought to be taken: you have–but because my reaction is: is it too much to ask that good adults take it as a sacred duty to protect children against this monstrousness? We now have to rely on the children to protectthemselvesagainst predatory behavior? 

    But the sad truth is, yes. Yes we do. · 4 hours ago

    Talking to children in the way described above is a way of adults protecting children.  The children have to know enough to be able to tell an adult.

    Children and adults are going to be in situations where bad things could happen, alone one one one.  Some time that old neighbor will be alone with your kid.  Even the most vigilant parent can’t (and shouldn’t) be at their child’s side every second of every day.

  20. Fred Cole

    The nature of man is that there will always be some tiny fraction of a percentage of creepy pedophiles.  That’s just the nature of the world.

    And you can shake your head and say “It shouldn’t be this way.”  

    No, it shouldn’t.  But equipping children to know right from wrong is protecting them.

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