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“Please Secure Your Own Mask Prior to Assisting Children”

“Please secure your own oxygen mask prior to assisting children or others.” Most of us have heard a flight attendant recite these words as part of their safety spiel prior to departure. Before anyone starts to argue that this is just one more thing the airlines have wrong, I am going to tell you why these words are exactly on target, both in the air and in your every day life.

According to the airlines, if the cabin loses pressure, you will have a mere 18 seconds of “useful consciousness”. If one does lose consciousness due to depressurization, they have three to seven minutes in which to be revived before suffering any lasting consequences. So it is safer for the child traveling with you to lose consciousness momentarily while you ensure your own ability to revive and continue caring for the child, than for you to ensure he or she remains conscious at the risk that you lose consciousness, leaving the child unable to revive you.We have reached some pretty low temperatures here in Indiana already. Last week while walking, dressed in three layers of warm clothing, boots, gloves, etc., I noticed a mother carrying her toddler into a church daycare; what struck me about this family unit was that the child was bundled more than I in a snow suit while the mother was wearing the thinnest jacket imaginable. This young mother was conscientious of protecting her child from illness, but forgot to consider who would care for her child if she became ill.

Have you ever skipped a meal, perhaps because you think you have too much to do, but ensured your children had something to eat because you knew they would get grouchy if they weren’t fed? We can all get a bit irritable when our blood sugar is low, and your children are the ones most likely to suffer when you’re not feeling your best (especially, if they have more energy than you do).

If you don’t make your own recovery and renewal a priority, you will run out of energy, patience, and attention for those around you and your personal goals.

December 14th, 2008