Summer Safety

By: Neil Mufson
We recently hosted an annual event at which we welcome our eighth graders to the ranks of Country School alumni.  At that luncheon we designate an Outstanding Young Alumnus/a for the year, and that person delivers remarks aimed at helping our upcoming graduates make the most of their transition from The Country School.  This year’s honoree was Gray Boutté, Class of 1998.  Gray gave a truly remarkable talk about the path he has traveled and some of the lessons he learned along the way.  For our last newsletter of the 2013-14 school year, I want to focus on one thing he said among many worthy messages: “Your health is your most important asset.”

At the end of the year, I usually write something having to do with looking back at your child’s growth over the last nine months.  However, Gray’s words resonated with an article that Beth sent me just about the same time, and I thought I should share these very practical, but critical, observations. The piece, by writer Mario Vittone, was posted on Slate dated May 22.  It is entitled, “Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning” and begins, “In many child drownings, adults are nearby but have no idea the victim is dying.  Here’s what to look for.”

The article goes on to describe what happens with most drowning victims: “It does not look like most people expect.  There is very little splashing, no waving, no yelling or calls for help of any kind.  To get an idea of how quiet and undramatic from the surface drowning can be, consider this: It is the No. 2 cause of accidental death in children, ages 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents)…”  My eyes were definitely opened by what the article presents. 

As we all shift into summer’s pace, I urge every parent to read this article, even if it’s the only one of my reading suggestions you follow this year.  Half of the children who will drown this year “will do so within 25 feet of a parent or other adult.”  Your health, and that of our children, is indeed our most important asset.

Thank you for entrusting your children to The Country School this academic year.  Their paths have been remarkable. Our teachers’ partnerships with you and your children have transformed our students in countless and powerful ways.  I wish all of you and your families the best that summer brings.

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