This one trick has the potential to save a life and, in case you’re single and daddying it, get you a date. I know it sounds too good to be true. Can one simple hack do all that? Yes, and the thing is you already know you should be doing it! This will be like that moment when you figured out not to talk while trying to swallow your food. (For those of you who have been able to get this far in life without knowing this, I have no idea how you’ve been able to survive this long.)
This strategy solves a problem you can see whether you live in a suburb or in the city. I don’t know what causes the problem. Some people will tell you it’s because today ’s parents are lazy. Others will tell you it’s because mom is obsessing about Instragramming tonight’s dinner. Dad may be occupied with checking out how his fantasy football team is doing. Who knows? There may be some people who think there are aliens at work.
The issue I’m writing about is the horror of young kids in parking lots.
In case you haven’t noticed young children have little to no survival instincts. Sure, your run of the mill 3- year-old is afraid of clowns. But if the same three-year-old sees an open door, then it’s a smart bet they are making a run to the outside world consequences be damned.
I’ll give you a real-life example. I grew up a somewhat suburban section of a small city. It wasn’t one of them world class murder cities you hear about. It was an armpit of a municipality. And my family lived in one of the less stinky areas. One morning when I was ten I just happened to be looking out my front door. I can’t remember why I was looking out the front door. But I was looking at the big wide world of a side street. And what did I observe? Our neighbors’ three-year-old kid strutting happily up the road to a world of adventure.
Now, I wasn’t the brightest 10-year-old out there, but I realized adventure for a someone who is three and without proper supervision could and probably would be bad. Bad bad. Really bad. I ran out the door and got over to the kid. He knew me. His older brother and I were frenemies. After a quick “Hey, does your mom and dad know you’re out here?” I took him by the hand and brought him back to where he belonged.
That’s the day I figured out there is a very very small chance of a kid running into traffic when you have them by the hand.
MyParkingSign.com states one out of five car accidents occur in a parking lot. And why are parking lots such a hot spot for automotive disaster? MyParkingSign.com offers this analysis:
One of the major reasons behind collisions, injuries and fatalities that happen in parking lots is the false sense of security motorists and pedestrians feel. Pedestrians and drivers expect traffic to move more slowly, which means that caution takes a backseat.
If you’re already a parent and think I’m hand-holding shaming you, I’m not. Look, our brains are held together by scotch tape and Twizzlers. A quick look at public bathrooms gives you a good impression how well most of us handle life. Not too well with pee all over the seat. A vast majority of us need automatic flushing urinals. I may curse at those who pee all over the seat, but we’re all walking around with brains that are just suboptimal. Not holding your kid’s hands is the effect of having brains somewhat like a bag of angry squirrels.
Those of you who are paying attention may realize you’re not just training your kid to hold your hand in parking lots, but you have to train yourself to do the right thing. Learning a new skill will take time. What I did was to treat going into a parking lot like I do when I’m about to start the car. Before I put my classic Corolla into drive, I make sure everyone is buckled up. (This goes for adults. If you’re a “Live free and unbuckled or die” type, then you’re going to have to call an Uber.) Before walking into the parking lot with my kids, I stop. Full stop. Just by coming to a full stop on the curb gives the smarter parts of your brain a chance to say “Hey, grab your kid’s hand.”
Some of you have been really patient with me, and I appreciate it. As soon as you tell some people, “Do this thing and there’s a greater chance of you finding a date” they just want to focus on that part of the discussion. So here’s the meat and potatoes. It’s been my experience there are many many women out there (I’m sure there are men who share this sentiment if that’s your thing) who get weak in the knees when they see a guy holding the hands of their young child. A lot of guys have kids. There are many crappy dads. Showing you can effectively daddy in public shows potential romantic partners not only did someone find you worthy of reproducing with but you’re invested in your kid’s well being. That’s a big sign on your back that reads I pass the smell test, and it’s ok to date me.
Oh, and thanks for holding your kid’s hand. I’ve been known to drive in parking lots and appreciate it.