Musings: What I want to teach my kid when she’s older – Survival skills

I read with horror about Grenfell Tower and how someone recounted that he called his brother who stays in the building and told him to get out and his brother said “we’re not allowed to get out” and that “the firefighters are coming up to get us”. This resonates with the Sewol disaster, where hundreds of students died because they were told to stay in the cabin until further instructions came. And of course, no instructions came.

I guess in times of crisis, everyone panics and clings on to any instructions that come, and instructions are usually for them to stay put, since there might be more injuries if everyone rushes for the exit. But whenever I read about such incidents, I’ll always wonder ‘why would you so obediently put your lives in someone else’s hands’? If you stay in your cabins, you will drown if the ferry tips over. I would try to get onto the deck so that I won’t get trapped when it goes under. If I’m staying on the high floor, I’d try to get to lower floors or out of the building. Of course, easier said than done since in this case the fire is on the second floor. Perhaps the people in all these incidents do not realise how serious the crisis is because it all seems so peaceful.

This brings me to my next point. I’m going to teach Baby E not to be so trusting and not to listen to instructions blindly. When out on field trips or in times of crisis, even if the instruction is to stay put, I want her to look at it critically and go investigate (of course, sensibly). And to trust her instincts and to get out. All to preserve life. I don’t want her to be the obedient victim and blindly follow others to her death.

And next is the part about tricky people. I read somewhere about how to teach children to identify bad people… and that it’s difficult to define bad. So I’ve been telling Baby E that if any adults go to her and ask her for her help or to follow them, she has to come tell us first. As it is, Baby E says hi to everyone she meets in the lift, and readily hops over into the arms of whoever asks to carry her. It is terrifying to me.

I struggle between letting her have her child innocence and letting her know that the world out there is warped and not everyone has her best interests. So any parents out there who has advice please share them… I’ll greatly appreciate it.


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