On a mid-day shuffle to the bank yesterday, I caught an earful on a story affecting the local Denver community (and Colorado as a whole): there’s a proposed law on the slate to make it mandatory for kids to wear helmets. Scooters, bikes, skateboards, in-line skates…yup. Put a lid on it, kids. And some folks are crying “nannyism,” that it’s the government stepping into the role of parent.
Holy hell – it’s no different than parents do when they pack their kids away for 8 hours of babysitting each day at school, right?
I don’t have children (but do hope to in some fashion one day), so I have my opinions. What I’m unwavering about is my steadfast belief that if I spent 9 months and however many hours of labor to get that kid into the world, a helmet is the least I can do for their head.
Now, until law is passed, do what you will with your own head and your kids’. But I’ll offer you a perspective that might change your mind about the inherent wisdom of placing your brain in a bucket:
Look to the pros.
It’s nice that you live in a safe neighborhood. It’s lovely you are always there to keep an eye on your kids. Last I checked, however, you’re not a superhero and you lack frickin’ matter-controlling laser beams that shoot our of your frickin’ eyes.
Look to the pros.
Imagine the dedication it takes to become a professional athlete. Time, energy, sacrifice. Professional athletes wear helmets.
Football and Baseball players: helmets.
Motocross riders: helmets.
Motorcycle racers: helmets.
Ice Climbers: helmets.
Speed Skaters: helmets.
Are you catchin’ my drift? If your brain is on the concrete, you don’t get a second chance to improve your skills…in sports, life or business. Next time you think you know better, consider the practice of perhaps looking a little uncool and acting more like the people who are cooler than we will ever be because of their dedication and hard work to a discipline they love.
But why do pros wear helmets? Aside from most sports governing bodies requiring the practice, they understand that safety is a key aspect of becoming successful at what they love. Most of the time, you’re not worries about your mistakes – you’re worried about the mistakes of others that can send you crashing down. Flukes, bad timing, plain old bad luck. Whether you’re working on becoming proficient and the best you can ever be or simply trying to get through another day of the rigors, the understanding of safety allows you to take chances. Experience the moments of greatness where you exceed your own bounds. Be a kid, in essence. Push yourself beyond your limits with glee. And if you slip – you’ve got a backup plan that will give you a better opportunity of trying again than facing the end game.
Get proud. Shoot your eye out. Be your very own Ralphie – I really don’t care. But each day, I learn more and more the value of wearing a helmet (both actual and hypothetical).
I can indulge in wild opportunity. Take chances. I can give something a wing ding and while I might get my bell rung, it’s less likely I’ll get my brain scrambled by something that shouldn’t have done so.
I don’t feel out of place because everyone around me in a sporting atmosphere is wearing a helmet. It’s just what you do.
So look to the pros. If you think you’re so bad ass that you don’t need a helmet, don’t wear one. But consider that there are people out there that know better than you, are better than you. And no matter how good you are, your actual and hypothetical brains all look the same when life sneaks up on you and rings your bell. It’s your choice on whether it’ll be your last ring-a-ding.