How Much Would You Pay to Save Your Child’s Life?

Just for a moment, think of the unthinkable: someone has kidnapped your child. You receive a letter stating that your child will be released unharmed if you pay the ransom of $10,000. Would you be willing to do it? Of course you would! Any loving parent would move mountains to bring their baby home safe.

What if the ransom demand was for $50,000–or $100,000? Even if you didn’t have it, you would find a way to get it. You would do everything you could to make sure your precious child was returned to you, alive and well.

Or would you? Perhaps you would say, “Nope, sorry. I just can’t spare that right now… the car needs new brakes… the dog just had surgery at the vet… and my older child is going to need braces.” Would you tell the kidnapper you just don’t have extra cash to ensure your child’s safety?

What if the kidnapper said, “I will release your baby back into your arms for $75.”

I get a lot of requests to teach radKIDS classes–to neighborhood groups, troops of Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, sports teams, after-school and camp groups, etc. When I tell people what we cover in the classes–that their children will learn how to tell a Bad Guy from a Stranger, what to do if someone offers them “magic candy,” when it’s okay to knock down and shatter the big-screen TV in the store, and that we will also teach them physical skills that can allow them to break away from an attacker and escape–the parents are very excited. They recognize that, with over 100 bona fide saves from abduction attempts and countless saves from sexual predators, radKIDS saves children’s lives.

They are eager to work a class into their families’ busy schedule. Then, I tell them there is a per-child fee. It covers the costs of new equipment (We use a lot of equipment and props in the class to make the scenarios as realistic, yet fun and non-threatening, for the kids as possible.) It also covers the Activity Books we give each child, to help them remember at home the important concepts we teach in class. Part of the fee pays for the radKIDS Family Manuals, given to parents/guardians of each child. While explaining everything we teach in class, these Manuals also serve as a free ticket for that child to take radKIDS again–as often as they like, anywhere in the world that radKIDS is taught, for free, until they turn 13. And finally, the fee allows me to pay my Assistant Instructor for sharing her time, knowledge, and skills. Because of her, I can teach more kids better than if I taught alone.

I used the amount of $75 above as a low “ransom” number. My radKIDS classes actually cost less than that. Considering that kids learn information and skills that have saved other kids from violent abductors and child sexual predators, that’s a pretty good investment.

Still, people are disheartened when I tell them about the fee. They seem to expect that, because this is such a great service we’re providing, we should provide it at no charge. (Even though, in actuality, all classes but the first set are free.) So, let me ask: Do you expect other service-providers, those with specialized knowledge, skills, and equipment, to donate them to you for free? Your family doctor? Dentist?  Even your child’s school teacher is paid for their service and specialized education. You pay your babysitter by the hour, your mechanic by the job. All of these people are important; each enhances your family’s life in their own way.

On a personal note, I must admit it’s frustrating when a parent is interested in signing their child up for the class, only to pull back in surprise, disappointment, even disgust that I “have the nerve to charge a fee.” They seem to think I’m using their children to take advantage of them. Granted, in some cities, officers on the local police force are able to give radKIDS classes for free. This is because they’re subsidized by their Departments. That is not available in this community, nor do I personally have such support. And that’s okay. When I was training to be a radKIDS Instructor, my supervisor chuckled and told us, “You’re never gonna get rich doing this!”  But we don’t do it to get rich. We do it to save your child’s life. How much is that worth to you?

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