We have a pony wall at our house. I like it because it gives an open feel to the second story. We can look over the wall at the lower level below. It is high enough that it is not easy to climb. It would not have been easy to climb that is, unless we mistakenly left a stepladder used for changing a light bulb in the hallway. We intended to move it. It was pushed up away from the pony wall closer to the wall on the other side.
I was getting the Sugar Snaps ready for the day, helping them to get dressed when I stepped into the hallway and saw Xayden. He had moved the stepladder to the pony wall and had one foot on the top of the wall, ready to straddle it. After I pulled him off the wall with an exclamation of “Nooooo!,” and moved the step ladder far, far away, tears streamed down my face as I thought about what could have been. I knew the moment I saw him that we could have lost him if he had fallen off that wall. I had nightmares about it the rest of that week, seeing him on the floor below, broken beyond repair.
The accident that almost happened was our fault. We know they are capable of moving ladders. But, we are with them all the time and had intended to move it soon. We didn’t move it soon enough. The Sugar Snaps could see that I was upset. They could read the fear in my eyes. But, I knew that they really didn’t get it. They would climb the wall again if given the chance. I had to show them what would happen if they fell off the pony wall. They did not know that people can break beyond repair.
The classic nursery rhyme of Humpty Dumpty speaks about what can happen when something fragile falls off of the wall. I knew they needed to see an egg dropped off our pony wall to get a glimpse of the fragility of the human body. I discussed the nursery rhyme with them and talked about the bones of the human body being fragile like the shell of an egg. If people suffer a “great fall,” they will not be the same afterwards. I showed them an egg, had them sit down, and then went upstairs and dropped it from the second level onto the slate floor below.
They were a little surprised by what the egg looked like after the fall. We talked about how it could not be put back together again, ever. A doctor could not mend this egg. No one could. If they were to fall from the wall, they would never be the same again. This was not a fun conversation, but it was one we needed to have. I hope they understand the danger better than they did before. We will not leave the means to climb the wall in the hallway again. We are very grateful that a tragedy did not occur. Have you had tough conversations with your children or students about safety? Please share in the comments. I’d love to read about it.