Posted 5/24/13 by Common Good
Save the drowning man? But we’re not certified yet!
I love the Scouts (got two of my own) and appreciate the old motto: Be Prepared.
BUT -- there's preparation that's safe and sane, and then there's super-stratospheric safety that goes so beyond what's necessary that the end result is red tape. And how safe is it to be wrapped up in tape?
Guess. (This is a letter I got over at Free-Range Kids last week):
Last year our daughter decided that she wanted to join the Girl Scouts. My wife signed up to be an assistant. Over the next few months we discovered what a strange and dysfunctional organization the Girl Scouts had become.
You see, in order to have a camp fire on the Girl Scout campgrounds, you need to have someone who is “fire certified.” My wife was all eager to earn this certification so that the girls could have a good time. So she had to attend a two-hour class where she learned all about fire safety and how to properly build a campfire.
You’d think that would enough, but you would be wrong. She then had to attend another two-hour class on a Saturday. Certified yet? Of course not. Now she had to attend a weekend camping trip where the parents could practice their skills and finally become certified.
This is where it gets absurd. A bunch of parents go off on a camping trip where they are presented with rules that treat them as though they are children. They still can’t have a camp fire! And if they have to go to the bathroom, they need to go with a buddy. Yes, even if it’s the middle of the night, you’ve got to wake somebody up. (Sanity prevailed and they all agreed to break this rule.)
Then, as they were sitting in a small group and talking, my wife hears a muffled cry. After a minute or two she figures out that someone is crying for help. The group rushes down to the lake where they can see that an elderly man has fallen out of his fishing boat and is unable to climb back in. He's hanging onto the side of his boat, his legs submerged in the cold lake water. He is minutes away from drowning.
When my wife and her group got to the lake, they encountered another group of moms who had arrived first. Were they rushing out to save this man? Of course not. They were debating amongst themselves over who was “water certified” to help him!
Water certified? Fortunately, they finally threw caution to the wind and my wife and some other parents got a boat out and rescued the man. When the ambulance arrived, the EMTs estimated that he had been about five minutes' away from not being able to hold on any longer. It’s so sad to me that these women were more worried about who was certified to help this man, than they the fact he was minutes away from drowning.
But at least my wife is now certified to start a campfire. It only took two classes and a weekend trip. -- Brad, the Dad
Lenore Skenazy is the author of the book and blog “Free-Range Kids,” which launched the anti-helicopter parenting movement. She’s going to be posting here from time to time on issues of interest to Common Good supporters. As Lenore puts it, she’s ready to make “America the Home of the Brave again, not the Home of the Bureaucrats So Stupid that a Hazmat Crew Gets Called to a High School When a Student Brings in a Mercury Thermometer. (Which really happened a few months back, in Florida.)” And here’s her outrage of the week. Chime in!