My youngest son has been accepted into his school’s safety patrol. Yesterday was his first day.
“What about the bus?” he asked me this morning. “Am I safety patrol on the bus?”
I was never safety patrol. In fact, I was kind of the opposite. Getting into trouble without actually getting into trouble was a primary focus of my growing up years. I have no point of reference for giving safety patrol advice.
“Um, no,” I said. “Definitely not on the bus. Why?”
He explained a situation where someone on the bus had taken something of his. When he’d been unable to get it back, he’d finally whipped out his safety patrol notebook and threatened to write the person up.
“Oh,” I said, cracking some eggs into a pan. “That’s different. That’s misusing your safety patrol authority to get what you want. I’m all for that.”
“Okay,” I said. “So here’s the thing: don’t use your safety patrol power for evil, but also don’t ignore it. If someone has stolen something of yours, and you can flash a badge to get it back without trouble, then go for it. Be careful, though. With safety patrol power comes safety patrol responsibility. I don’t want to hear about you safety-patrolling kids out of their lunch.”
He laughed. “Safety patrol power? Really?”
Note to self: next time you borrow from Spiderman to give real-life advice, be a little more obscure.