Safety Is Job One!
And, it’s a two-way street!
I generally have five or six guitars perched on their stands around my house, and I have a peculiar tradition regarding their safety and well-being. And my mental health.
When I get a new instrument, one of the first things I do is grab a ball-peen hammer and put a dent in the guitar’s finish. You may ask why I would do such a thing and that’s a fair question. The answer lies in the fact that I used to have a couple of very playful dogs. They tended to get rambunctious and the chance of knocking a guitar off its stand was not an if, but a when. So, to create a scenario in which I would never get mad at a pup for scarring a new guitar, I would remove that anxiety by going ahead and giving the instrument a small scar, rendering its perfection moot. This worked well for me and I have now ingrained that kind of forward thinking into making sure that my son Ian is safe and so is his living environment.
Things will get broken. Ian will scratch up his knees. He recently chipped his first tooth. But, amongst this endless set of obstacles and travails, we do all we can to keep him safe and make our home a safe place.
Due diligence is the job of parenting – the buck stops here and there can be no mistaking this. If something can be broken, it may well get broken if left in harm’s way. It is now my assumption (by way of experience) that Ian will touch everything he can, he will use scissors if he can get ahold of them, he will run with them, and my wife and I are the people responsible for making sure that his safety is assured, and the safety of our possessions is reasonably insured. This is a full-time job, people!
Electrical outlets in our home are covered when not in use. Glasses and knives are stored out of reach and, when in use, placed away from the edges of the counter or table. Chemicals and cleaning products are kept behind locked doors. If you do not want a child to get at something, it is your job to make certain that their access is limited accordingly. More: household safety checklist
It is NOT your child’s fault when he breaks the cookie jar! The child is doing his job, he is going to experiment and test things out. Children are like little risk management workers – if it can be broken, they may well find a way to break it, so it is vital that we realize that we are the only line of defense in the safety of both the child and the possessions.
I can’t stress this enough – you can make it a game, make it a challenge, but face the fact that your child’s safety is job one and there is no other line of defense in the home. What this does is make us better at our lives in general. For us, taking safety precautions in our home makes us more mindful, our things are where they should be, and Ian is reasonably safe.
And the guitars? They are still perched on stands around the house and, now and then, safe in Ian’s curious but respectful hands. Home safety with kids is a very serious matter, but as with all this parenting stuff, it can be made into a pleasant experience for everyone!