Advice to Missionaries
Now that my daughter (Bas-Shifra) is eleven I allow her to bike around the neighborhood with her friends. We always coordinate a time that she needs to be home and my husband and I recently purchased a pre-paid cellphone which we allow our kids to take with them when they are out alone or with friends. I find it very sad that kids have so little freedom today so I try to let her have her independence in small ways when I can (I know I rode my bike ALL over the place all day as a kid and my parents were QUITE overprotective.)
When my daughter and her friend returned to our house yesterday afternoon after a bike ride I noticed her friend had a "Why Islam" pamphlet in the basket of her bike. When I asked her about it a whole story came flooding out of both girls at once.
"There was this weird man..."
"He was wearing a white dress!"
"and he said hi to us so we didn't want to be rude"
"He asked us if we thought about why we were here in this world"
"and he kept talking about the afterlife"
"it was CREEPY!"
"and he gave us these pamphlets but Bas-Shifra threw hers in the trash right away!"
"He really freaked us out."
"He was just handing things out to people but when he saw us he started that whole conversation."
I was really upset.
If you want to missionize on the street that's bad enough but do NOT approach CHILDREN.
In a very uncharacteristic move I called the police. We live in a small town, I thought they should know. Bas-Shifra of course was SO embarrassed.
Apparently unless the man was "being inappropriate" he's within his rights to preach to children on the street.
Both the policeman and I reminded Bas-Shifra that she is not required to be "polite" to strangers who want to talk to her on the street and should just keep on moving when called to by someone she does know.
My daughter and I talked about it later - she apparently thought he was Jewish since he had set himself up outside a kosher eatery on the main street and had his head covered. "I didn't know he was another RELIGION" she said "he just seemed weird." When I explained to her about how missionaries operate she said "Wow, he was pretty subtle I had no idea I was being converted!" I almost laughed then, but honestly this whole thing has me a bit freaked out.