The Navy had a safety poster, “Knob turning is a bad habit.” Picture a cartoon sailor standing in a line of sailors, leaning on a nest of pipes, twiddling with some valve or other. Standing knee deep in some liquid – might be water, diesel fuel, etc.
We take for granted that our lawyers make Wal-Mart and city streets safe for us and for our kids. Motorcycle riders often wear close-fitting, leather or denim clothes – in case they end up sliding on a road surface, leather slides without grabbing, denim offers a bit more protection before wearing away to grind skin against road surface.
Kira lamented today about “Control your kids” on 20-forty.com, about parents that fail to discipline their kids. Kids run amuck, misbehave, and ignore directions. Once you get away from the nice, safe central heating and air conditioning – a bit of mischief or inattention can cause a fire, an accident, and cause injuries or death.
As times get harder, kids (and adult kids, too!) have to learn where to take chances – and that unless you choose to take a chance, you leave things alone. Gags and pranks can easily turn deadly with hand tools, and when working hard. We don’t have many farming still today, but the farmer is still about the second most hazardous civilian occupation, after fire-fighter. And that is keeping safety in mind, working carefully around machinery and livestock and farm buildings.
As I mentioned to Kira, imagine your kid wanders into the street. You notice a car coming, and are too far away to reach the kid in time – so you holler. Does the kid react quickly and correctly? Does the kid clear the street in time? A lot of kids I see in grocery stores and restaurants are so used to ignoring adults, especially their parents, they would never hear, much less obey, that fateful yell.
Robert Heinlein sets a wonderful illustration. A guy is marooned in a fallout shelter with others in “Farnam’s Freehold”. He has carefully stocked the shelter, and finds after a few days that all the boullion cubes are gone (dried cubes of soup stock if you didn’t already know, sort of like the seasoning packet stuck in with the Ramen Noodles). The kid in the story (a useful literary invention to exhibit an inordinate amount of stupidity. Reminds me of 7th grade English class.) has each them – they were salty and he enjoyed the ‘snack’ – that should have provided last-recourse minerals and protein for nearly a month per bottle.
Would your kid appreciate restraint, and preserving food to last into the future?
We know that dogs can get us in trouble if we don’t teach them obedience – to come when called, obey basic (safety) commands, don’t chew or piddle or dump inappropriately. The saying used to be that you could tell a man’s character by his dog and his horse. This was useful when you had to deal with someone that your folks didn’t know his/her folks. Kids fill that role, too, for families. Discipline, respect, and honor are real easy to find – or to miss when they aren’t there. Courtesy and polite behavior are often reflections of good character – in parents and kids.
Ever notice in the grocery store, the parents walking around with a kid hanging on their coat, or their pants, or their shopping cart? The gimmick here is to tell the kid, “Your job is to hang onto me/the cart.” Which simplifies the kid’s job immensely. Instead of ‘stay close’ (how close feels close to the kid?) or ‘stay out of trouble’, now the kid has a task. Kid isn’t hanging on? Easy. Remind, then reprimand for failing their task. Much easier than, when you are unhappy with their behavior, define, this time, what is wrong. When I hear a complaint about kids running around a store, I think of the quiet families where the kids are out from underfoot, under control, and parents and kids are disciplined, courteous – and getting the shopping done with less stress.
When resources get scarcer, the rough edges of people tend to get rougher, and the out-and-out uncivilized tend to operate more widely.
Will your kids, your family, react correctly to a warning shout?