Into The Lion’s Den

By Matthew Barbis, Founder & Chairman

Today, I had the opportunity to join the audience for the newest lesson added to The Stranger Safety Awareness Program.  Pat Chierichella, the foundation’s Educational Coordinator, along with Mike Pepe & Charlie Comstock, both from the Educational Committee, presented live in front of the 320 students in The Lakeville School.  The Principal of the school informed us that “it was a great combination of critical content and engaging presentation”.  The new lesson was an adaptation of an old story handed down over the ages. Pat told the tale of an old, but wise Lion who moved into a new neighborhood.

The lion was very keen and devised a plan to lure the other animals in the neighborhood to his lair. The lion made it known to all that he had a luxurious home with all the newest technology: Ipads, big screen tvs, games systems, exotic cars, etc were displayed for all to see (as I said, it is an adaptation). All the trappings starting to arouse curiosity in the other animals, and one by one, they made their way to the Lion’s den. You see, the Lion was very hungry and needed more money to pay for the most expensive of dinners in the local restaurants.

First to arrive was the Zebra. He galloped up to the Lion’s door and announced his arrival. “Come right in”, said the Lion. “What an incredible home you have”, said the Zebra. “All the better to make you want to come in…and now I’m going to sell you to the zoo”. And with that, the Lion sent over his zoo keeper, who took the Zebra out the side door to the zoo.

Second to arrive was the Giraffe. She meandered over to the Lion’s door and announced her arrival. “Come right in”, said the Lion. “What amazing gadgets you have”, exclaimed the Giraffe. “All the better to make you want to come in…and now I’m going to sell you to the zoo”. In came the Zoo Keeper, who swept the Giraffe out the garage door to the zoo.

Next to arrive was the Tiger. He quietly stepped up to the Lion’s front door. “Come right in”, said the Lion. “What incredibly fast cars you have in the driveway”, said the Tiger. “All the better to make you want to come…and now I am going to sell you to the zoo”. Again, the Zoo Keeper moved in to capture the Tiger, and quietly stole away with the Tiger out the kitchen door.

Lastly, the Monkey made his way over to the Lion’s property. Being the wisest of his friends, he carefully examined the sprawling estate. Knowing never to travel alone, the Monkey made sure not to set foot on the Lion’s property. The Monkey was also wondering why he hadn’t seen his other friends in the last few days and became suspicious. Now it was the Lion who’s curiosity got the best of him. The Lion noticed the Monkey not coming closer and left his home to investigate. “Why don’t you come in”?, asked the Lion. The Monkey replied, “I noticed that there are many foot steps going into your home…tiger footsteps, Giraffe footsteps and zebra footsteps, but none coming back out. I think I will keep my distance and avoid your obvious trap”. The Lion became afraid that his devious plot had been exposed, so he roared and ran at the Monkey, who in turn, mirrored his movements and ran the other way before the Lion could reach him. The Monkey ran right to a trusted adult, the Sheriff, who then returned to the Lion’s den and arrested the Lion and freed his friends from the zoo.

The story provides many stranger safety awareness skills if your children examine the story closely. Many times, children are very trusting and that leads them to make poor decisions. Although the Lion used the trappings of wealth to lure his victims, a stranger may use other, less obvious tricks; a lost puppy, a new ipad, a ride in a new car, even a simple candy bar. The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation stresses over and over, we can’t do much to stop a stranger from taking a child, but we can teach a child to stay away from the stranger in the first place.

Please repeat this story to your children, as it has been over the ages, to keep reminding your children that things are not always as they may seem. A stranger giving away free treats or asking them to join them in their home or in their car are always up to no good. Help them so they are not lured into the lion’s den.

About The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation
Founded by Matthew J. Barbis after his 11-year-old cousin, Carlie Brucia, was abducted and murdered in Sarasota, FL in 2004. The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation’s goal is to reduce the number of child abductions in the U.S. by educating and empowering young minds with the knowledge necessary to avoid abduction. Utilizing puppets and a formalized educational curriculum, the foundation provides elementary-aged children with the Stranger Safety Awareness Program, free of charge. The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

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