The idea for this post came to me after a comment I received on my blog from a close friend of mine, The Bolt. After reading his comment and talking with him during that day, I started thinking more about safety and what part we as dads play in the safety of our children. It comes as no surprise that one of the primary fears for me as a dad is the fear for my children’s safety. I think that is probably a primary fear for most dads. We all want or children to grow up happy and healthy. We want them to be prosperous and to have fullfilling lives. We also want to be there to protect them when we can.
There are times though that we may not be able to be there. One of my biggest fears for my children is something happening when I can’t be there to help protect them. What do we do? How will our children know what to do if something bad happens? As a dad it is not only our desire to protect our children, but it is our job to help raise their awareness and prepare them for whatever may come their way. We are (or should be) our children’s first source of knowledge between good and bad and right and wrong. We should be who they turn to when they want or need to know what to do. A few things that us as dads can do to help prepare our children for the unpredictable:
Fire Safety – Remember the commercials back in the early 90’s that were PSA’s aimed at getting families to make a plan in case of a fire? Sure they look corny to watch now, but don’t rule out the effectiveness. The Bolt suggested we bring it back for all the new parents out there, and it’s not such a bad idea. Teach your children about the dangers of fire. Have a plan in case of an emergency. Run drills (which can be fun if you get them excited about it). Teach them again and again and they will listen. They will also know that dad cares and wants to do his best to help protect them. They will appreciate it.
Stranger Danger – This one always seems a little tricky to me. You don’t want them to be scared of everyone in the world, but you don’t want them to be too trusting and get into danger either. Teach them about saying no to people they don’t know. Not only just to say it, but to know when to say it. Teach them to respect everyone, but when to say no and walk away. Teach them that yelling for help is a good thing. They should always try to alert someone when they think they are in trouble.
Kitchen Hazards – “Don’t touch that it’s hot!” … we have all yelled this line at one point or another. Accidents in the kitchen can happen quickly and unexpectedly even when you are around. I have worked in restaraunts for many years now. Even as an experienced cook, I know that accidents happen even to the best of us. Always make sure your children know their boundaries in the kitchen. My two kiddos know that the knives are sharp and the oven is hot. They also know that they are never to try to touch the two. Repeatedly letting them now where the limit is and what the dangers are is the best defense against the unsepakable dangers of the kitchen.
The Unthinkable – There are many more ways children can be put in danger in the home. Open electrical sockets, broken glass, open windows and doors. You are fully aware of them at all times (it’s dad nature) though your children may not have a clue. You don’t want to push them to be fearful of everything, but you do want to teach them to be prepared. Always take new opportunities to teach your children good and bad, and when to be afraid and ask for help.
You want to be there to protect them at all times, but we all know we can’t be. We can however be teachers and guides to our children. We can teach them to trust in us and in what we say and that we want what is best for them. In the long run, they will appreciate and honor what you have done for them. That is a reward that I will cherish forever.