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The Helmet Lesson
Teachings of a Three Year Old.

by Hal Evan Caplan
June 16, 2007

The Helmet Lesson_Hal Evan Caplan-Teachings of a Three Year OldI am a student of my 3 year old son. He does a good job of teaching me lessons, even when there are times in which I don't want to comply. It's not that I don't want to learn, it's just that some lessons are much harder or more difficult to accept. I think the old saw, "it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks" says it best...

My wife and I have instilled upon my 3 year old Teacher to always wear a helmet when riding his scooter, riding his bike or when skateboarding. At first, he resisted, but now he knows to always put it on. Lately, he's been a on a mission and has taken on a cause. He points out when someone is not wearing their helmet, whether it is at the park or on TV.

Recently, my Teacher and I planned a trip to the park for a bike ride. Before we left the house, my Teacher grabbed both of our helmets and placed them on the seat inside the truck. On the way to the park, he expressed how proud of himself he was because the helmets were the first thing that he grabbed.

"Dad, you know that I did it." He announced.
"Did what?" I asked
"I did it...not you. I put our helmets in the truck!" He boasted.
"I see that you did...good job." I pointed out.

Then he switched gears on me...
"You know Dad, it's important to wear your helmet." He insisted.
"Uh-huh." I muffled back.
"ALWAYS!" He blurted back.

The lump in my throat was beginning to feel really, really big because I truly did not want to wear a helmet. What I really wanted to do was just wear my hat.

You see, in the south, it gets really hot. On that day, IT WAS HOT and HUMID...and when I say humid, I mean the kind that one can "cut" the humidity with a knife. Now, I'm not one to complain, but the last thing that I wanted to do was wear a helmet on this hot day. Also, when I was growing up, I didn't wear a helmet. I know it sounds ridiculous, but what can I say...kids didn't have car seats either.

As My Teacher went on and on about the helmet, I felt like I was being lectured to...
"...so Dad, you ARE going to wear yours, right?" He continued.

Trying to avoid answering the question, I struggled to divert his attention off of the helmet subject. Luckily, I saw some Harley-Davidson motorcycles coming our way and I figured this would be a good opportunity to put my plan into action. I pointed out to him that the bikes were coming towards us, and I asked if he could hear the rumble of their motors. He said he could hear them and he was excited to see them. As they passed us, I joined in the excitement and tried to get him on the "how cool was that wagon" in order to change the subject. Simply put, his response was, "They all had helmets on."

Okay, that didn't work to my advantage. I again tried to turn his attention elsewhere, scrambling for anything else. Luckily we arrived at the park, and I announced that we were going to have a great time.

Once we were in a parking spot, we unloaded the bikes and began to get ready for the ride. My Teacher immediately put his helmet on and voiced that I do the same. He watched as I put mine on, then I thought maybe I could fool him and switch the helmet with the hat. I mean think about it, I would have something on my head and I was sure he wouldn't notice the ole' "switch-er-roo". Just before we began our ride, I did it...

He started out in front of me so I was sure that would be the end of it. Case closed. But I was wrong. Early into the trek he turned to look to see how far behind him I was. Once he saw me he stopped dead in his tracks when he realized that I did NOT have my helmet on.

"I am not going any further until you go back to the truck and on put your helmet!" He proclaimed. I let out a big "SIGH" of defeat.

At this point, I had nothing to say. I mean, he was right, and I couldn't even defend myself on that one. So with my head sunk low, knowing I was defeated, we went back to the truck to retrieve my helmet and finish our ride.

In a nutshell, the lesson that I learned that day is: Remember to always practice what you preach, no matter how difficult or hot it may be.


About the Author:
Originally from Colorado; now residing in Alabama. Hal is married and has a son. Hal loves the outdoors and is always willing to learn...and of course, always learns from his son.


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