This morning, at Tyler’s preschool, they had the local firefighters come out to teach the children about fire safety. Then they got to go outside and check out the fire truck and all the equipment they use. Needless to say, they were in awe! These kids, ages 2-4 (and a few younger siblings) were all amazed by the fire truck and the fire fighters. Yes, a few of the youngest were a little scared of the full fire suit, especially when they put their masks on, but that’s understandable.
As we were driving home from school, and talking about all of this, Tyler told me how much he loved getting to meet the fire fighters and that they have a really cool truck. I asked about policemen and he said he likes them too because they are all there to keep us safe. A few months ago, at our neighborhood night out, some of the local policemen came around in their cars to let the kids see the inside of the patrol cars as well.
While we were talking, I was so happy to hear that he knows that police officers, firefighters, and paramedics are there to help us. Their job is to keep us safe. I don’t want him to ever fear the police. If either of our boys are ever in an emergency situation, I want them to know that they can go to the police for help.
Too often, I hear of parents threatening their children that they will call the cops on them if they are misbehaving. And I don’t mean when it’s true reasons to call, I mean when they are young and not listening. “If you don’t do _____, I’ll call the police on you and they will take you away.” Seriously, not good. Not good at all. Our children should never be afraid of first responders.
There are so many situations that this can be bad. What if there’s a fire, and they are afraid of the firefighters or police and don’t respond when they are trying to find your child? If they ever get lost from us, and see an officer, I don’t want them to be afraid to approach him or her. I want them to seek the help they need. What if they are injured, they shouldn’t be too scared to tell a paramedic or doctor what’s wrong.
I don’t understand the mentality of being afraid of police officers. Yes, there may be crooked cops, but there are crooked businessmen and people don’t riot about that. For the most part, police officers are there to help you. To protect you. To protect all of us. To keep order. You may be mad because you received a ticket, but that wasn’t the police officer’s fault, they were doing their job. You are the one who broke the law to get in trouble.
Before we left for our trip to Colorado, we put in a vacation watch with our local constable office. They made sure to keep an eye on our house as they made their rounds while we were gone. Only problem was they came through at about 1:30 am the morning we were leaving. The form only asked for the day you left, and we didn’t leave until about 8 am, so we were still home. The officer walked the perimeter of our home with a flashlight and Tyler came running in our room scared saying he saw a light outside. Then we saw the light through the living room windows and our bedroom windows and knew someone was in the backyard. Justin went to the front of the house and saw the patrol car out front and we realized why he was out there. It was a perfect lesson in teaching Tyler that he was here to protect us, and then he wasn’t scared.
Do everyone a favor, and don’t instill fear in your children. Don’t make your children afraid of those sworn to protect them.