by Deborah Hayes
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 get 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 sometimes 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.
There was usually grumbling about having to get up early and be to school before the other kids arrived, but 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 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 how 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 to the kids to get back, and then placed himself between his charges and the oncoming car. Fortunately, the driver was able to regain 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 there 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, but 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 simply done what he saw as his duty, and he had done it quietly. In my book, that describes perfectly what we expect of a hero.
I may 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.
Available in The Best of HeroicStories, Volume 1.