I really enjoy talking with teenagers. Perhaps it’s because I did such a lousy job of being a teenager myself, but I really enjoy being with them. I hear them talk, I listen to how they think, I watch what they do, and how and why they make decisions - or how they don’t think at all when they make decisions - and it amazes me how any of us make it through that time. Tossed into a churning cauldron of hormones, peer-pressure, changing body, wanting independence but still ready for a hug, parents who are clearly beyond embarrassing, getting the car keys for the first time, figuring out their sexuality, and overlaying it all the knowledge that ‘grown up’ looks frighteningly close, with all the incumbent responsibilities and freedoms and independence.
As a parent, what’s the best thing you can do? Empower them to do the right thing or to know what to do when they’ve made the wrong decisions and the worst-case scenario really does happen. Your hair is turning white at the thought of the midnight swims in risky areas, drunken college revelry, driving with friends to who knows where, or just when it all seems too much. One of the great life-skill tools you can give them is First Aid/CPR lessons. Help your teenager grow up responsibly, and maybe even sleep a bit better yourself knowing they have another life-saving tool in their repertoire.
With a nod to my favorite teenager, The Fray, singing ‘How to Save A Life’. Because for me, one of the answers is ‘Know CPR’