One mother’s safety rule may have helped save her children’s lives
As parents, it is our job to teach our kids about the dangers that exist in the world. As our children get older, we also come to expect our kids are absorbing about 10 percent of what we are actually telling them. We want more than anything to keep our children safe and know we won’t always be there to protect them. One mother’s harrowing story proves our kids really are listening to us—and remember what we told them even years earlier—when it matters.
Jodie Norton had to rush to the hospital after a stomach pain left her doubled over one morning. As she sat in the ER with what would later be determined as a ruptured ovarian cyst, she phoned a neighbor asking if he could pick up her boys, ages eight and ten, and drive them to school. He agreed and she sent them to wait on a bench near the door to the ER waiting room.
“It wasn’t until my boys came home from school at 3:30pm, that I found out they had been waaaay late to school,” Norton wrote on her blog Time Well Spent. “I had wrongly assumed my neighbor was coming from his house (not somewhere farther away), so my two boys sat out front of the ER for 40 minutes. Not the five minutes I had expected.” What happened next left Norton feeling “sick and grateful.”
She said it was during those 40 minutes her boys waited that “they were approached by an adult female and two punk males who asked them if they’d ‘help them out by going into the bathroom where her boyfriend was hiding from the doctor and see if they could convince him to come out and get treated.’” She said each time her boys pushed back and answered “No,” the strangers pushed further.
“Please? You could really save his life if you’d just go in that bathroom and tell him it’s safe to come out,” her boys recounted. The strangers finally relented after repeated attempts to convince them. When the neighbor arrived to pick her boys up, they witnessed this “sick boyfriend” emerge from the bathroom, jump into the car with the other three and speed away.
Norton said it was because of a “stay safe” family rule she taught the boys years earlier that no harm came to them. “Mom, I knew they were tricky people because they were asking us for help. Adults don’t ask kids for help,” her son CJ said. She said she taught her kids this rule after reading tips on Pattie Fitzgerald’s website Safely Ever After. One of her tips is teaching kids that tricky people ask kids for help. If an adult really needs help, they’ll ask another adult, not a child. Her boys remembered that rule and it may very well have saved their lives.
What happened to Norton is every parent’s worst nightmare. There are horrible, sick people in the world that will always look to cause harm to children. This will never change. But it is a reminder to all of us how important it is to arm our kids with knowledge to make them as prepared as possible should they find themselves in harms way.