9-Year-Old Who Saved Dad From Car Crash Should Change How You Treat Kids

dirt roadAsk a bunch of parents when their kids will be ready to go for a long walk down a desolate road alone, and you'll get answers ranging from the helicopter (never!) to the free-range (eh, 5? 6?). I've always considered myself to be somewhere right down the middle. But the story of a heroic 9-year-old who crawled out of his family's crashed car and walked off to find help for his dad is making me rethink my stance on "independence."

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How can it not? Little Damian Kisselburg could have been hamstrung by fear when their car crashed out on a dirt road 10 miles out of town. Instead he crawled out, walked to his grandparents' house, and found out they weren't home, so he walked on to his Dad's house, where he got a phone, called for help, and essentially rescued his Dad. Gus Kisselburg is now in the hospital recuperating.

I've been in enough car accidents myself to know how terrifying that whole ordeal must have been! But during each, I was an adult, and I kept it together. Now imagine if you're a little kid, your Dad is doubled over in pain with blood gushing out of his nose, and you're his only hope.

Scary. But as Damian showed, kids can do incredible things.

On the other hand, imagine you've never been allowed any independence by your parents. Could you really do what Damian did? You wouldn't just be afraid, you'd literally have no idea how to function.

To me that's scarier than the thought of my kid having to rescue me from a car accident: the thought of her not being able to function in a dangerous situation because I've loaded her down with my insecurities about her growing up. Because as much as I keep an eye on my daughter because I want to keep her safe, I have to admit that there's that part of me that's clinging to having a baby girl. It's tough watching them grow up, but treating them like babies forever doesn't help anyone.

This little hero isn't going to make me send my 6-year-old out on a 10-mile walk tomorrow, but I'm definitely going to start taking more of the baby steps I've been resisting. How about you?

 

Image via jcneto/Flickr

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