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Do You Have a Secret Code Word?
Soldiers are taught secret codes so that if they are ever captured, they can let the military know that they are saying something against their will, if they're forced to do a video tape. It may be how often they blink, or don't blink, or which way their eyes move, or how they tap their fingers. That way anyone analyzing the video can get info without the captors knowing what's really going on.

Not to be an alarmist, but it's a good idea for our kids to have code words, too. If they're ever in a situation where they have to tell us something's wrong, without being able to say the words, you want those code words.

It could be something innocuous, like "sure do love ya", which they would never normally say just that way, but which doesn't sound like they're asking for help. As my kids are getting to be teens, we've decided to implement this, so that if they're ever at a party or a friend's house, and they're feeling uncomfortable and want to come home, they can let me know without having to say it out loud.

But you could also use it in more nefarious situations, like in the case of a real kidnapping.

You can also use code words to let kids know they're safe. Christina Fielder had such a code word with her mom when she was little, based on Gary Gnu, their favourite fictional character.


We thought it was just silly until one day, our mom actually enforced it. My brother and I went to a local Catholic elementary school, where all the moms were prompt in picking their children up after the last bell rang. So, as time passed, and we were the only ones sitting on the school steps for what seemed like hours, a car pulled up. It was our mom's PTA friend, who we did not know very well. She said she was there to pick us up because my mom had an emergency to take care of. My brother and I were hesitant, as we knew we weren't supposed to get into a car with anyone unless our mom said it was OK. My brother and I profusely refused the ride, until she uttered the words, "Gary Gnu," and with that, we hopped in.


She relates the story of a teen who was recently killed, who called her parents twice before her murder, but her parents didn't pick up on anything in her voice. She was probably trying to figure out a way to signal them, but couldn't.

So it's important to have these code words with our kids. I know we don't want to alarm them, but it's just part of living in the modern world. And I think kids tend to feel more confident if they feel as if they have tools at their disposal.

Tonight, at dinner, why not talk about it? Make a game out of it, and role play it. Create a code word. You never know when it might prove awfully handy.
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7 Comments:

At 7:41 AM , Blogger Llama Momma said…

This is a great idea!

We use a "code word" for pick ups at school or other activities. Our rule is that you can always go with grandma and grandpa if they show up to pick you up. If someone else shows up (and we haven't already talked about it), they need the code word.

Recently, I dropped one of the boys off at a b-day party and ran into a neighbor, who offered to bring him home. Because I had a preschooler who really needed a nap, I took her up on it. And with the code word, it was no problem. :-)

But this takes it a step further.

 

At 8:09 AM , Anonymous Jennifer said…

We have a code word, but now that I think about it, I'm not sure if my girls remember it. We've never had to use it. I'll have to sit down and talk with them about it again. Thanks for the reminder!

 

At 8:33 AM , Blogger Laura said…

What a GREAT idea! Of course I don't think my kids are old enough to get it yet so I will have to catalog this in the memory bank for a little bit later.

 

At 11:28 AM , Blogger Kristine said…

We had a secret code word for our daughters when they were children and even now as young women they still remember it.

 

At 2:42 PM , Blogger Kelli said…

What a fabulous idea. We'll definately be implementing this into our own family.

 

At 11:22 PM , Blogger Miss. Candy said…

That is a great idea!!! I had one with my best friend when we would date, I never thought about having one with my children!

 

At 4:25 PM , Blogger Herding Grasshoppers said…

That's a great idea.

Actually, my kids know a handful of people they can trust without the code word (grandparents, a neighbor family) but this would make it more obvious for them, where to draw the line.

Thanks :D

 
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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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