At what age do you think you should teach your child some basic important info about themselves? I would say as young as they are aware of their environemt, know how to use basic things at home especially the phone. These are to me "basic skills" that is important for them to know in case of emergency. And in this day and age, emergency is the last thing that we want.
Why am I rambling about this? Some time early this year, I went to pick up Eussuv from school but as I was late, he already went off with the van. As I was going out from the school, I saw a boy crying as though he was lost. Pitying him, as it was already 6:45pm and the school was almost empty, I stopped and asked him what's wrong. He said his father is supposed to pick him up but he's nowhere to be seen. He also said that his father is usually on-time. My heart went out for him instantly. I can understand his fear. So I asked him where he lives. It happened to be on my way home. Then I said why don't you call your dad using my phone and ask him, and perhaps if he's so late I can send you home .. (me playing the rescuer). And this is what he says.. I don't know his number! Huh? How about your mom's number or house number? Also don't know. Oh dear!! And this is a 9-year old boy. A 9-year old boy whom I believe can already read and count.. do not know his parents or house number!! I was really really shocked. I was actually shaking my head. How could they? Maybe I'm overreacting. But really, this is THE basic info that I was talking about. Since I don't want to be responsible to a child with no info, I handed him over to the school guard and teacher in charged. If he had known the number I would have sent him home and save him from all his misery.
Another similar incident was when Irsyad's friend wanted a ride from me because his mom will be late. I asked him to call his mom first to let her know. Again he didn't know his parents/home number. And this boy is 11. Lucky he knows where he lives! And lucky for him that I actually keep his mom's number by coincident! Mind you, this boy also does not know how to use money as he always brings food from home. He never buys anything at school. No, I was not being nosy but the reason I had to pick him up with my son was because they had to stay back after school for an activity and they had to have lunch at school. So this boy suggested that perhaps my son could treat him lunch. The whole week! Errr.. I don't think so! To me, at least at 11 years old, he should know how to buy things just for the sake of skills (not necessarily for shopping!)
I'm not trying to put down any parents but I believe there are some things that parents should teach their children for their own safety and well-being. When you raise your children, it includes all aspects of their lives, their physical and mental development, their well being, their safety, their environment, etc etc.. the list is endless! Little things like knowing parents phone numbers may seem trivial but it is of great importance. What if the child is lost? What if the child is kidnapped then later managed to get away? There are so many what ifs. And I believe these little things may help. It is part of basic survival skills.
So parents, please, do teach your kids to remember the important phone numbers. But also, teach them not to reveal numbers or address to strangers. Teach them to fear strangers. Teach them over and over again what's good and bad around them hoping that they will be safe in any situation.