Transcript: What is People Safety?
Welcome to the People Safety Audio Lessons from Kidpower, teaching advocacy, boundary setting, and other People Safety skills for building happier lives and stronger relationships! I’m Erika Leonard with another Kidpower People Safety Tip.
So what is People Safety, anyway?
People Safety is safety for people, with people. It’s being safe with others, and it’s being safe with ourselves. It’s physical safety for people with people, to protect our bodies, and it’s emotional safety for people with people, to protect our feelings.
People Safety skills are the tools that we use to build that safety in our everyday lives. These are the best tools for building safety, trust, and respect with people we know, like our friends, co-workers, neighbors, parents, kids, brothers and sisters, grandparents, and other family members. People Safety skills are the best tools for maintaining our safety when we don’t know people well enough to know the kinds of mistakes they make or whether those mistakes might make things less safe.
And when we do know people well enough to know whether their choices tend to make things more difficult or less safe? Well, our People Safety skills are the tools we use to be aware of the problems, to take charge to keep ourselves safe even as we might be looking for ways to continue building trust and mutual respect, and to get help when we need it so that we stay physically and emotionally safe while we’re doing what makes sense to help those more difficult relationships be as strong and as healthy as possible.
People Safety skills are the most effective tools to deal with name calling; to set boundaries around roughhousing, tickling, or teasing; or to get help, even when your own choices or mistakes caused the problem or made things less safe in the first place.
People Safety skills are the most effective tools for dealing with brothers and sisters who go into your room and borrow your stuff without checking first, or for dealing with parents who seem so busy that getting their help is really hard. People Safety skills are the most effective tools for dealing with friends who are telling jokes that are racist, or sexist, homophobic, or perpetuating prejudice in some other way. They are the best tools for managing the problem of your next door neighbor’s loud music blasting through your windows after midnight or for dealing with someone at your school or your office who is talking so much that you can’t stay focused and get things done.
As if they weren’t powerful enough, People Safety skills are also the best tools for being safe with strangers and for creating safe spaces and times for some strangers to gradually become people we sort of know, and then maybe even to become people we know really well. As hard as it might be to imagine, some people who are strangers to us now are, in the future, going to be friends, and some of them will even become family to us. People Safety skills are the tools to build a place in our lives for that process to happen in a way that’s safe and that makes our lives better.
People Safety skills guide us in making choices about what we might or might not say to the strangers serving our food at a restaurant, what personal information we might or might not talk about with the strangers taking care of us at a doctor’s office or a dentist’s office, what toys, games, or art supplies we might or might not share with the strangers we meet at a new class or playgroup, or what we might or might not say to the strangers sharing the sidewalk with us when we shop downtown. People Safety skills help us decide when going closer to a stranger helps us be safer and when creating more space from a stranger helps us be safer.
People Safety means being safe with yourself, too. It means realizing that it’s not okay to say mean things to ourselves, just like it’s not okay to say mean things to others. People Safety skills help us take in compliments, because taking in the true kindness of others builds our strength and our confidence. People Safety skills help us accept that problems should not be secrets, that mistakes are part of learning, and that perfection is not attainable, but greatness is. People Safety skills are the tools people use to change any kind of behavior that is hurtful, damaging, or disrespectful to anyone’s feelings or bodies including their own, to make sure the words they think, the words they say, and the actions they take help themselves be safer, stronger, healthier, and more confident.
Kidpower has been teaching People Safety skills since 1989, and that’s why we call ourselves “The People Safety People.” No matter how old you are, where you live, or what challenges life has given you, if you want to be safe and thrive with people, our job is to give you a chance to practice using tools you already carry inside of you in order to build that safety with the people in your life. If you’re a teacher, a parent, a grandparent, or any other kind of mentor to others, our job is also to give you the support you deserve so that you can guide those you care for in building the safety that gives rise to the strongest friendships, the best memories, and the happiest lives. You deserve it.
Visit kidpower.org for more people safety tips, and remember, in everything you do, stay safe, act wisely, and of course, believe in yourself!
Audio Message And Transcript By Erika Leonard.