The story of Snow White contains a couple of references to dealing with strangers, and these two references have completely opposite outcomes. In the first, Snow White experiences the kindness and generosity of strangers, while in the second instance, she is harmed by her dealing with strangers. These are important things to discuss with children, because it is not always apparent to them who they can trust and who they can’t, and it won’t always be apparent.
The first instance in which Snow White had to deal with strangers was when she found herself alone in the woods with nowhere to go. She saw a cabin in the woods. She goes to it and finds it empty, with beds to sleep in. Having no where else to go, she ends up sleeping in the cabin.
This situation turned out for the best for Snow White, but it could have not ended well. Ask students if they remember the story of Hansel and Gretel, and what happened to them when they went into a house in the woods. Explain that we often won’t be able to tell who we can trust and who we can’t, and it’s important for each family to have guidelines in place for how they expect their child or children to react in cases where they get lost or are encountered by strangers.
The second situation in which Snow White finds herself dealing with strangers is when her evil stepmother is dressed as an old peddler and comes to the seven dwarves’ cabin. She offers Snow White an apple, but it is poisoned. In this case, she makes a mistake by disregarding the rule that the seven dwarves gave her, which is to not open the door for any strangers, and she pays the price. This illustrates the important point that kids should always follow their parents’ or guardians’ rules.
If you are having this discussion with your children, make sure to include your rules on what you think is an appropriate way to deal with strangers in different situations, as well as who they can trust if they ever get lost, such as a police officer, firefighter, or a parent with children. If you’re having this discussion with your students, send home a notice to parents that you have had this discussion and ask them to have a follow up conversation with their child about what they want their child to do if lost or encountered by a stranger.