Three-year-old Alessaundra Tafoya has made her parents very proud. In fact, the preschooler is winning praise from her community and the news media, too, for being such a brave little girl this past weekend.
The tiny tyke was home alone with her dad when he collapsed. Instead of panicking, she walked two blocks to the local fire station, and brought firefighters home to help him. Doctors said he would have died without immediate medical care.
Wow. And I’m impressed when my three-year-old can carry her plate from the dining table to the kitchen without breaking it. This girl deserves all the gold stars.
What’s most amazing to me about this story, though, isn’t that a three-year-old had the presence of mind to help her dad, or the ability to walk two blocks to a fire station. It’s that the adults around her prepared her to do it, and let her.
Every once in awhile my 3-year-old escapes from our house. Usually it’s when we’re getting ready to go to the park, or her sister is heading over to the neighbor’s to play. I stop to pee on our way out, or run upstairs to get a jacket, and she slips out the door.
Invariably she does the same thing: toddle down the block towards our good friends’ house two doors down. She’s never made it there though, because before she can travel the entire 100 feet between our houses, two things happen: I come tearing out of the house frantically searching for her, and some kind-hearted stranger stops to rescue her from the evident peril of walking down the street alone.
Not only was Alessaundra able to walk down the street alone a lot further than 100 feet, she knew where she was going. Her parents have been teaching her about public safety, pointing out landmarks like the fire station on family walks and letting her know that firefighters and police can help her if she’s ever in trouble.
Of course they never imagined she’d save her dad’s life with that information. But they gave it to her because it occurred to them that a three year old girl might be able to help herself or someone else in an emergency.
Our kids are a lot more capable than we usually give them credit for. Maybe I’ll remember this story next time I freak out because mine is trying to go visit her friend next door without an escort.