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How to teach your child to not run into the street: My brother’s story

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How to teach your child to not run into the street: My brother's story - Wildflower Ramblings

Children learn through stories.  My mom always taught me this.

If you tell them, “Don’t throw a pencil, it could poke your friend’s eye out!”  They just may throw a pencil, just to see what happens.  Or at least they won’t understand why not to throw a pencil.

Instead, my mom the teacher, at the beginning of her every school year, she tells her eighth grade students the story of the mostly-sweet boy who decided to toss a pencil to a friend across the room and the pencil got stuck in another student’s eyeball.

Super gross and heart-wrenching, right? The story is a little more effective than the phrase.  {Thankfully, after a long recovery, the student recovered his eyesight.}  But my mom tells the story at the beginning of each school year.  As a lesson. Because children learn from stories.

My brother’s story is a beyond-important one.  I want to share it with you today.  I share it with my son often and I shared it with my dear, irreplaceable kindergarteners back in my teaching days.


Instead of, “Don’t run in the street, look both ways!”  I tell my son about his dear Uncle Robby.

My 10 year old brother was walking home from school one day in November.  He was with friends, probably goofing off, having fun.  He didn’t look both ways — on a street that he crossed every morning and every afternoon.  And as he crossed, he was struck by a large commercial truck and he was killed instantly.  He died because he ran into the road.  He didn’t look both ways.

I show my son his Uncle Robby’s picture.  Lots of pictures.  And I tell him oh how much I miss him.  And oh I wish he’d have looked both ways.  And oh my heart still aches that I wasn’t there to help him look both ways — as I’d been with him almost every other day — because we usually walked home together.  But my sweet Robby is gone.

This resonates with my dear John — Robby’s middle name was John — and he talks about Robby in heaven and how that makes him sad. But, “I will see him in heaven some day!”  Oh yes, my dear, sweet, innocent boy, you will.

I share my story with you, not out of sorrow or sadness, though I am still sad.  Last week, we celebrated Robby’s birthday, and I wanted to share his story, so that just maybe, it could help your little one.  Teach them.  Share my brother’s story.  Share his picture.  Look both ways.

Of course, my worst nightmare, as any parents would be, is to lose a child.  But I thought his story may help to prevent this accident, just this one safety measure.  With honesty and love, our children may learn.  When there is a dead squirrel in the road, my son and I talk about it.  Every time.  Children need to know about these hard things.  To protect them.

Because children learn from stories and repetition.

I know it isn’t “playing in the street” weather yet — at least not where we are.  But, I hope you share my brother with your child today.

And on a beautiful and happy note, we have a joy incorruptible!  My brother was saved through the blood of Jesus on the cross and I will see him again.  God Himself will wipe away every tear from our eyes (Revelation 21).  And this, of course, is the most Important Story that I can share with my precious ones.


Blessings to you and yours today,

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  1. I hope you do not mind but I am adopting your brother as my brother and I will tell my 2 year old boy Brit, who looks a lot like Robby, who is starting to run really fast and who does not yet have a healthy fear of the street, about his Uncle Robby that did not stop and look while crossing the street.

    Stories really are the most important thing when discussing safety, and I am so glad I found yours through a Google search looking for the perfect approach for my son. Thank you for sharing your brother with us, Aunt Amy. <3

    1. Also, may God richly bless you, and please take a tiny moment to pray for my son to learn street safety in a way that keeps him safe.

    2. Thank you Kaycee, I’m so thankful that his story will be able to teach your son, as he has taught my own children. Blessings to you and him.

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