Watch your step.
These words of wisdom tumble out of me on a regular basis.
Since my kids were little I have been diligently providing endless warnings.
I watched them hang upside down and said – No spinal injuries, please.
I watched them climb on rocks near precipices (for real) and said – Don’t fall off.
I watched them (while breaking into a cold sweat) cutting things with knives and scissors and said – Don’t cut your finger off.
We sang songs (for real, again) about stranger danger – My body’s mine mine mine…
Don’t take candy from strangers. Don’t help the man search for his (fictional) lost puppy.
The first time my daughter went out alone she (literally) took candy from a stranger and ate it. Sigh.
So do I think my warnings changed anything about their actions or their outcomes? Not sure. But it felt irresponsible to not voice my concerns. So I did. Were they any more careful? Did they actually hear me? Or did I fade into the background – like some sort of anti-boy-who-cried-wolf?
BTW – look out for wolves.
My helpfulness extends to adults. A few months ago, several of my friends lost their fathers. So I told my Dad – Don’t die.
Because now he won’t. I fixed it.
I actually researched whether my need to warn and counsel was pathological – like a sign of some OCD or anxiety-related disorder. Apparently as long as I can continue to run my own life while simultaneously worrying about others, I am OK. At least clinically speaking. Luckily I am an excellent multitasker.
I’m able to bite my tongue about the dangerous behavior of most people. I keep my advice to them inside my head.
Put a helmet on your kid, for goodness sake.
You might want to reconsider that neck tattoo.
Watch your step.
But if you are one of my people, look out.
Actually, don’t bother, I will.