No Big Deal

by Deborah Hayes
Idaho, USA

No Big Deal

When you have kids, you want to make sure they learn about responsibility — looking out for others and doing the right thing — but you may never get the chance to see if your kids got the message.

When you’re a single parent, working and raising kids alone, it can be even more daunting, since your time with your kids is so limited.

I am one of the lucky parents who got the chance to find out what my kids had learned. When my twin sons were in fifth grade, they were appointed Safety Patrol Officers, responsible for helping their fellow students cross safely at one of Spokane’s busiest intersections.

Although they grumbled about getting up early and being at school before the other kids arrived, they were proud of their badges and the job they had been selected to do.

A few weeks into the school year, I was at school for an open house when the Safety Patrol Advisor took me aside, saying, “You must be so proud of Tim!” I agreed, of course, but asked why she would say so. She went on to tell me that earlier that morning, a car had run a red light at the intersection. As the driver tried to apply the brakes, they locked, and the car swerved and jumped the curb near where the children were beginning to cross.

Tim yelled for the kids to get back and then placed himself between his charges and the oncoming car. Fortunately, the driver regained control of his car and managed to get back onto the street seconds before he would have hit Tim! Thankfully, nobody was hurt. The kids on the corner were pretty rattled but impressed with their fellow student. For me, hearing the story even secondhand was terribly frightening, but I was so proud I could hardly contain myself.

My son never mentioned it. When I finally asked him about the events of that morning, he just shrugged it off, saying, “No big deal, Mom.”

I was happy to hear what he had done and was pleasantly surprised to learn that he wasn’t making a big deal of it. He had done what he saw as his duty, and he had done it quietly. In my book, that describes what we expect of a hero.

I sometimes become exasperated with teenage shenanigans and attitude, but when I remember the fifth grade, I no longer wonder if my kids got the message.

Originally published as HeroicStories #72 on April 21, 2006
Available in The Best of HeroicStories, Volume 1.

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