In the late 1970s, when my son Victor was about nine years old, he was in Cub Scouts. One of the badges he needed was for first aid. My 11-year-old daughter was in Girl Scouts, and they were having a first aid class to earn their badges, too. The class was taught by a certified Red Cross first aid instructor. Because I was a registered nurse and needed my card updated, I took my son to the class.
Three days after the class, Victor was visiting his friend Wayne at his house nearby. Suddenly, Wayne came running to our house for help: his little sister Lisa was hurt. Lisa had run through the glass on the front door, cutting a gash on her wrist that was too large to close. There also were several pieces of glass in the cut. My son had remembered the pressure point and used it to control the bleeding while Wayne came to find me.
I did what I could to calm everyone down, and covered the wound gently with a towel. Lisa’s mother called the hospital so they could have Lisa’s chart handy when we got there. Their HMO was strict; it required them to call before going to the hospital.
The mother was very shaken, so I offered to drive and take her along. But she couldn’t think of a babysitter, and couldn’t leave her one-year-old and three-year-old children alone. I asked my daughter to help; she didn’t hesitate for a minute.
Although my daughter had no babysitting experience, at age 11, she was confident she could help. Lisa’s mother gave her instructions.
Although I’d managed to bandage part of Lisa’s gash, my son still needed to use the pressure point to help control the bleeding, so he came with us. When we got back from the hospital, Lisa had 28 stitches.
My daughter only called me for advice once. The mother tried to pay her for babysitting, but she refused, saying it was OK.
Wayne and Victor were inseparable; they were just like brothers to each other, in and out of each other’s houses all the time. They would do anything to help each other, so Victor didn’t feel as if he had done anything out of the ordinary. But I reported what happened with Victor at a meeting of his Cub Scout troop, and they gave him a special award for bravery and outstanding behavior. My daughter got a recognition award from her troop as well.
Both my children earned their badges twice: first by taking classes, and then by using the skills they learned to help people who were in trouble. They made me especially proud that day. Now, years later, they are both married with families, and are passing the same values on to their children that they learned when they were young.
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