I was digging through the drawer in our kitchen where we keep tape, string and other miscellaneous items when I found an old pet fire rescue sticker. You know, the ones you put on your window to let firemen know there is an animal in the house you'd like saved if possible after all the family is out. I remembered that I had gotten it for free when we moved to Houston so I googled quickly this morning to see if they still made a child's fire rescue sticker like my parents had once put on my window when I was little. I shouldn't have been surprised to see Fire Departments urging parents on all the websites to NOT use such stickers. (For the same reasons we didn't decorate our house or yard in any way when Aiden was born.)
The first thing they said was that they too easily mark the rooms where children are sleeping for predators, which are more common in neighborhoods than housefires. Next firefighters are trained to enter and search, not wander around the property looking for stickers first. This is because children change rooms, grow up and move away. Precious time would be lost looking for stickers in the window and searching bedrooms while children may be trapped elsewhere in the house. Lastly there is some belief that the stickers might build a false sense of security for children who would wait to be rescued instead of trying to escape from a fire on their own. Most sites requested that you remove all of these types of stickers immediately, whether they are on a child's bedroom or not, so you don't attract unwanted people to your property.
Isn't it sad that the world has changed so much? Parents want to protect their children from everything but it seems more and more impossible to be their sole protectors, watching them 24/7. I thought it was insightful of Paul Holinger when he said in his book "What Babies Say Before They Can Talk" that children should be allowed to politely say "no" to a parent at any age and have that answer be respected. That way children learn that they can say no to adults and exercise their will to escape dangerous situations instead of being intimidated by strangers because they are used to submitting to adults (parents) who never allow a contradictory response at home. I know Brian probably thinks I'm a bit too passive with Aiden sometimes but so what if he "gets away" with telling me no, he doesn't want to pick his toys up right now. The toys on the playroom floor aren't that big of a deal but the fact that he got to say no and have me respect what HE asked is tremendous! Not only for his understanding that he can express any thought or feeling freely and have it aknowledged but it builds our relationship closer to the mutually respectful, parent-as-a-gentle-and-loving-guide role that I want.
Funny how one little sticker and one little google search can get me thinking so much about parenting!