Tuesday, 8 February 2011

CHILDREN MUST BE TAUGHT HOW TO DEAL WITH EMERGENCIES.

Did somebody teach you how to dial 9-1-1 when you were young? During my childhood, I had a powerful phobia of reporting dangerous situations lest some adult blame me for causing it. Instead of Mom calmly dealing with a problem, such as the evening I broke my left arm, she panicked. Consequently, I felt as if I lived between a rock of offending irrational grown-ups and the hard place of being blamed for not reporting an emergency.

In Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School), I wrote about the time I witnessed an act of vandalism. As nobody trained me to calmly report it to the authorities, this is what happened.

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Charlie was not the only person who made my life miserable that month. I went down to the new swings to play after supper. While listening to my radio, I swung and enjoyed being away from the other boys. Suddenly, an object whizzed past me. I thought I imagined it until one of the school windows shattered. Somebody was hiding in the bushes outside the fence.

"Who's there?" I called as I stopped swinging. Nobody replied but I thought I heard movement among the trees. I became frightened and hurried back to the dorm.

Mrs. Corrigan and Mr. Thynne questioned me concerning the incident in the principal's office the next morning. "A street lamp and several school windows were broken last night and you were there. Why didn't you report this to us immediately?" my supervisor demanded.

"I was afraid I'd get in trouble," I lamely answered.

"Next time there's something like that happening in the school grounds, report it to a supervisor," Mrs. Corrigan advised.

The two adults released me with a warning and, to my immense relief, I received no punishment.

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Deliverance from Jericho contains many more vignettes of what life was like in that government-run institution. These range from poignant experiences of homesickness to hilarious incidents of mischief. Click here to read more about this book and to order it. You may also e-mail me directly if the comment form doesn't work.