Calling For Help

By: Christa Forrester

boy pointing the way to turn

Calling for help should be a simple task, but in today’s technology driven society it could be a difficult task. My mind always goes to children, those in the age bracket that think Google is or was our only resource, but this challenge is also affecting many adults today.

Do you remember your childhood telephone number? What about your childhood address? If your child rode home with a friend, could he or she “direct” the driver by watching the change in environment outside the car window? These should be simple questions with simple answers, but with technology driving all thought today, we find more people don’t know the answers.

So, let’s get back to the subject at hand, calling for help. When I was growing up one of the things that we learned was our phone number. Some of us learned it at home and some in kindergarten. Either way, if we found ourselves without our parent or trusted person, we could call home for help. How do you think that stands in today’s technology society.

Many homes no longer have a land line. For those younger folks reading this article a land line is a phone line that is hard wired into your home. It is a wire that runs from the phone outlet all the way to the phone company switchboard. When you really put your mind behind this it causes you to think. This was your families phone number and anyone who needed to reach someone in the family would call this number. Simple right? Well today, with most land lines not being used or not even installed in new builds, who or where do you call?

I conducted a quick survey of youngsters and their parents to see if children (ages 5-12) knew their parents phone numbers. Yes numbers, plural, just an added bit to this new technology world. A lot was learned. It really goes deeper than the change of adding technology to our lives. This survey also showed that the first or oldest child held the key and most of the knowledge of “family” rules and the other children were lost in the eldest’s shadow. What do I mean? We learned that in a family of three the oldest child either knew how to reach their parents, or a trusted person, knew the home fire drill or emergent weather plan and the basic household rules. The third child, however, was lost. No one had spent the same detailed time with them to learn all the important things. Was it because life got busy or does it align with the facts of life. First children equate to extreme parenting and by the third child no one is concerned if they eat dirt off the floor. More on this in a future article.

How do we correct the gap and teach children who and how to call. First, they must learn the actual numbers, not just a picture icon or avatar that is included in most cellphone contacts today. They must also learn both parents or multiple peoples cellphone numbers. Why? Let’s look at this scenario. One parent is a successful employee of a national company and spends 3-4 days traveling during the week. The other parent is managing the home every day and probably also holding down a 40 hour a week job. Your child’s best friends’ parents are picking the kids up from school every day and getting them to their afterschool activities and practices. One day they are involved in a terrible car accident where the driver is incapacitated and transported to the hospital. Your child is the only one conscious and the emergency responders ask them for their parent’s phone number. Do they know it? Can they call you? How will you know they need help? 

A little girl is pointing the direction to turn to get to her house

Many have responded with the fact that the child knows one parents phone number and not the other parents phone number. Change the above scenario to be that one parent is incapacitated and the child is asked the other parents phone number. Again, do they know the cellphone number or do they just know the cute Avatar picture that pops up next to the name?

Whose responsibility is it to make sure we prepare the children in our lives to the fullest? Many of us live in an “it won’t happen to me environment”. We hope nothing happens to any of us, but why don’t we educate and give our kids all the tools the need for success and survival instead of setting them up to fail or be the victim.

I challenge you to communicate and teach your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and those children you have impact on, all of the phone numbers of the people they can trust. Let’s help nourish and create successful strong children and give them the tools they need for success. This simple task and bit of education will fertilize their Mindset of Confidence.

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