Two Things To Teach My Kids This Thanksgiving

I was chatting with a doctor-mom friend about our kids today. We’ve both recently managed illnesses and injuries, but in the end, everyone is alright, and we are thankful.

We discussed a case in our practice that touched us both: a woman who was babysitting a preschool-aged child had a medical emergency, and lost consciousness. The child was alone in the house with the unconscious woman for many hours. When the parents came home, they administered first aid and called the paramedics right away. Thank goodness the child was safe (he later said that he thought the babysitter had just been sleeping), but the ensuing panic and sirens and emergency personnel bustling around was quite traumatizing to him.*

My friend has not only taught her young kids how to dial 911 in case of an emergency, which I have not, but she also has taught them a very comforting thing.

Whenever they hear sirens, any sirens, they stop what they’re doing and say:

God bless the helpers and the people who need help. Amen.

It’s a simple little thing that acknowledges the fact that somewhere nearby, someone is in danger or hurt; but that also, someone who is dedicated to helping is on the way.

A couple of years ago, this same friend had to call 911 for her child, who was seriously injured and in great pain. While they were riding in the ambulance, with the sirens blaring, she told him:

“Remember, honey, all those times we’ve prayed for the helpers and those who need help? Right now there are people all over who can hear this siren, and they’re praying for us. They’re praying for us right now, hon. It’s going to be okay.”

She took as much comfort from this as he did.

I thought that this was such a beautiful story, and tonight, when I go home, I intend to do two things:

One, teach my kids this simple and lovely little prayer:

God bless the helpers and the people who need help. Amen.

and Two, teach them how to dial 911 in case of an emergency.


*Case details changed significantly to reflect only the key salient points

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