A Safety Story
"This question is for Amanda,"
my son Doug said pointedly. He frowned at his little brother, Joey.
"And only Amanda."
We were playing What if? Have you
ever played that game? One person makes up an emergency situation, and
another person has to guess how to handle it. It's great training and
great fun. Doug was ten. He was also very smart, so everyone expected
him to get the answers right. Amanda was eight, and ditto. But Joey
was only four. I was thrilled at how well he was doing.
"You know how Dad is always leaving his
hammer somewhere and then he can't find it?" Doug was asking.
Amanda nodded. So did little Joey. So did I.
We all knew that one!
"What if Dad left his hammer on the top step
of the ladder and it fell down and hit him on the head and knocked him
out cold? What would you do?"
"Dial 911," Amanda screamed happily.
"Dial 911," Joey screamed happily along
"Joey," Amanda sighed. "You're
supposed to wait for your turn. Okay, this question is for Mom." She glared at her little
brother. "And only Mom.
What would you do if the stove caught
fire, and you couldn't get to the fire extinguisher because you'd left
it too close to the stove?"
"Dial 911," I yelled. Too easy.
"Dial 911," Joey yelled along with me.
I gave him a hug.
Amanda whined, "Make him stop, Mom."
"He's only four," I said excusingly.
Make him stop? Not hardly. I was thrilled that
Joey had learned about 911 so quickly. Being able to summon help can
save your life - or mine. It's important to know how to call for help
when you need it! I gave Joey another hug, then turned my attention to
my elder son.
"This question is for Doug," I said.
"What would you do if a stranger drove up and asked you to help
him find his lost little puppy?"
"Dial 911!" Doug yelled. (You never get
too old for this game.)
"Dial 911!" Joey screamed. "Dial
911!" He bounced
up and down excitedly. The people who lived two houses down had a new
Doug's eyes narrowed thoughtfully. "This
question is for Joey. And only Joey."
Joey sat up proudly.
"What would you do," Doug asked
carefully, "if you and Mom were home alone, and suddenly Mom
yelled Put that down! What would you do?"
"Dial 911," screamed Joey.
"And how would you do that, Joey?" my
incredibly smart son asked. "How would you dial
Joey thought it over. He chewed his lip. He
thought about it some more. It was obvious. He had not a clue.
What did Mom do wrong?
What did Doug do right?
here to find the answers