I was speaking with a colleague about child safety. We tossed around some ideas and concerns and I decided then and there that this would be the topic for this newsletter.
I’ll be in Ontario while you read this edition of the newsletter. I am looking forward to meeting with the folks at Today’s Parent magazine and delivering a Beyond Childcare presentation at Borden Ladner Gervais in Ottawa.
These meetings came about due to already planned trips and I am pleased that the magazine and law firm decided to take advantage of my trip east. There are a few more planned for the New Year and I will list them at the end of this article.
I actually have two commentaries for you this month. Besides my comments, I will post a link to an article by my colleague Hugh Pelmore who is president of ARETE Safety and Protection Inc. While his expertise is workplace violence you will be interested to read his take on children’s safety. I was.
A few years ago I was curled up warm and comfy during a recent and extremely rare snowstorm out here in Vancouver, watching the news on TV. The story was that in the city elementary schools were still open after a snowfall of 5 to 10 cm. In Vancouver any amount of snow that falls on city streets is big news.
The TV reporter was poking a mike in the window of a car and the Mom at the wheel was explaining that she was unhappy that the schools were open because she wasn’t comfortable driving her child to school in the snow.
Why is a Mom who feels uncomfortable driving in snow getting into her car? Most parents who drive their kids to school do so to keep the kids safe. But how can it be safer for kids to ride in a car driven by a nervous and unskilled (in the snow) driver? Safer than what?
Imagine if these same kids and all the kids in the neighbourhood walked, ran, skipped and jumped their way home. Then they could build a snowman, have a snowball fight, and make angels on their newly white lawns.
Children need to be getting themselves to school. Particularly urban kids who live within walking distance of the school. They need the exercise. They need the social time with their friends. And they need the transition from home to school, time to think of themselves not as “Mommy’s little angel” but as “Mr. Porter’s students”. They need to see themselves as someone capable of getting from point A to point B.
But there is pressure on parents, pressure to physically supervise your child each and every hour of each and every day. It just doesn’t feel safe out there. So we need to teach them. We need to make sure they know the way to and from school; we ensure that they’re not walking alone. If we all open our doors in the morning and send our kids on their way, there will be lots of kids on the sidewalks, all going in the same direction.
We need to teach our children how to walk to school, and then let them do it. They’ll get exercise and fresh air, which will make them more ready to settle down in class and keep their figures trim and healthy. And they’ll know that you trust that they can do it, they will feel good about themselves and slowly but surely develop into self sufficient young men and women.
And isn’t that what we all want for our children?
For more information, go to the article I mentioned above, the one by Hugh Pelmore. (http://tinyurl.com/28eeqlo)
What is Happening with Parenting Today?
Parenting Today would like to invite you to take advantage of a few upcoming trips. While I am in your community, let’s see what work we can do together to help the parents in your workplace or neighbourhood. You might be thinking of a public workshop in your region, a parent conference through your schools or maybe Beyond Childcare would be perfect for your workplace.
I am looking forward to speaking at the North Shore Safety Council AGM this week.
I am pleased that some of you have decided to take advantage of my trip to Ottawa just before National Child Day, which is November 20, 2010. I still have some time around that trip, so if you are looking for a professional development event, Beyond Childcare program, or a speaker for your meeting or conference get in touch.
For those who plan way ahead I will be in Washington state and Oregon in June 2011 and in Ontario and New England in late September and early October of 2011.
I may also be in Hawaii in the winter.
I’ll be in Montreal in early December and would love to work with you then.
And, I’m working on a trip to Central Alberta in the spring. Stay tuned for more information,