Bring Safety Home / But also start it at Home

Last week I saw something and couldn’t believe my eyes.

It was a particularly long evening when as a parent you feel guilty about keeping your kids up way too late at a social gathering.  We parked, woke up the boys – twelve and fourteen – and dragged them in to the house.  I followed them up the stairs and was surprised to see them head straight to the bathroom where they commenced to brush their teeth.  They could barely stand upright, but there they were methodically brushing their teeth before heading off to bed.

It got me thinking about the value in instilling good habits when children are young; hopefully habits that stand them good stead as they go through life.

These habits also go beyond actions like tooth brushing.  They also apply to values and attitudes.  Children who are taught to be thoughtful of others tend to take that good quality with them when they leave the nest.

Why shouldn’t this same concept also apply as attitudes towards safety?  In thinking of this, I came up with an example involving safety out of the home. Again it involves the boys and the first thing they do when they get in to the car. They may be texting away or wrestling but they will always make sure their seatbelts are on before the car leaves the driveway.  And I’ve seen it when they get into their friends’ parents vehicles.

I’m now thinking of ways I can extend this ‘safety 101’ in ways that will be of value to them when they start their first jobs.  Given their penchant for video games and the gap between their allowances and their desired cost of living, getting jobs asap is already on the table.

As an example, one thing that came to mind for me is knife safety. When working at a restaurant as a teen I witnessed someone get a nasty cut that required a trip to the hospital.  I plan on showing them how to handle a knife properly and little tips like never trying to catch a falling knife – just move out of the way as quickly and safely as you can.  And when moving out of the way, make sure you turn to look where you are moving. In a restaurant environment there could be someone carrying boiling water.

I’m even thinking of taking it a step further. While looking for camps and other activities to keep them busy over the summer I noticed a class at a cooking school aimed at kids. It actually offers a course on knife skills which incorporates a safety component.

While I look forward to making sure there is productive dialogue related to their experiences as young workers, I’m hoping that safety – like brushing their teeth – is something that is totally intuitive and is their first instinct when approaching any task they may encounter.

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