When I was in 5th or 6th grade in 1957 and 58 I was on the safety patrol. The Safety Patrol was an in school organization in most schools that depended on 5th and 6th grade students to insure the safety of students crossing busy streets near their schools usually without any adult supervision. Remembering that everyone walked to and from school and went home for lunch every day many safety patrol members at the age of 10 had the duty and honor to protect students from harm as they crossed major highways and city streets 4 times a day. They were depended upon to use their heads and their knowledge to protect the safety and even lives of the students in their care in all kinds of weather and they were 10 years old. We would probably not even consider using high school students for this job now.
My Patrol post was the crossing of Federal Highway 6 in Des Moines Iowa. Before the interstate highway system was developed. There were two main highways that crossed the entire United States, from the Atlantic to the Pacific in the North Highway 6 and in the south Highway 66 most commonly known as Route 66. . Highway 6 was 4 lanes of cars and trucks and in reality crossing it at any time was filled with potential dangers.
My reason for posting this is simple. Are kids less capable or taking responsibility today or have we simply given in to liability concerns. And if that is so, has it robbed our kids of the opportunity to accept and complete truly important responsibilities that are given to them at an early age. Training that would stand them in good stead later in their lives.
I don’t remember feeling any real pressure to perform because performance was expected of the members of the safety patrol who simply knew that was their job.
Is that what we are too often missing today in our lives and our schools and our gauze wrapped children and society? Are too many of our children missing the sense of responsibility, accomplishment, and self-reliance that The Safety Patrol gave its members?