Thursday, October 25, 2007


I couldn’t help but be impressed by the quick-thinking four-year-old Colorado girl who activated her car’s OnStar system when her mother passed out while driving. She had never been specifically taught how to do so, but had overheard a salesperson explaining it to her mother when she had purchased the car two days earlier.

So I decided to test my four-year-old. I kind of knew how she would do, but I was hoping she might surprise me.

Me: Hilary, I want to talk about what you should do in case of an emergency. Do you know what an emergency is?

Hilary: Yes.

Me: What is it?

Hilary: I don’t know.

Me: Well, say for example I fell asleep right now [we were waiting in the car for her sister’s school bus] and you couldn’t wake me up. What would you do?

Hilary: I don’t know.

Me: Or, what if we were home and I fell down the stairs and you couldn’t wake me up. What would you do then?

Hilary: Cry?

I think it’s because I’ve been so concerned over the past nine years that one of my kids would call 911 by accident that I haven’t actually taught them what to do in a real emergency. We’ve never organized a fire drill, or shown the kids how to hit the panic button on the alarm panel. I haven’t even been diligent about making sure the older kids know their address and phone number. Hilary has been walking around for a couple of weeks now announcing to anyone who will listen that her middle name is Rachel and her last name is Lutz and I suspect that’s the extent of her identifying information.

It’s hard to know how much and at what age you should teach your kids about emergencies. I certainly don’t want Hilary hitting the panic button every time her cousin bops her with his foam sword. On the other hand, it would be nice to know that in the worst of worst case scenarios, if fate should ever place the reins of life in her chubby little hands, she would be able to do something more heroic than just . . . cry.

No comments: