STALLINGS – John Short may no longer be a police chief, but he hasn’t hung up his hat yet.
For many years, Short, a retired Tega Cay, S.C., police chief, has been traveling to schools and churches teaching kids important safety and Bible lessons with the help of a puppet and some magic tricks.
He used to travel to York County for his school safety lessons, but now, a resident of Stallings, he’s bringing his bag of tricks to Union County.
The program is called Chief Short and Friends, and each program is designed accordingly for school or church groups, usually presenting to children in kindergarten to fourth-grade.
Short’s lessons aren’t mixed. He does the safety lessons for schools and then the scripture-based lessons for church groups, and he does each lesson in a way that’s sure to capture the kids’ attention.
“I learned many years ago, when you talk to kids about sidewalks, stoplights, strangers … you’ve got to make it interesting for them and keep their attention,” Short said. “I found with these magic tricks, they watch you and you can keep their attention. Then you’re able to get that message to them and they’re paying attention.”
Over the years, Short said the lessons on pedestrian safety, stranger danger and other hazards have not changed, so the lessons are all pretty direct there.
But when you’re teaching a moral lesson to youngsters, it can be hard to explain what something means, so Short finds ways to show them.
“I use scarves, cards, hats, all kinds of tricks,” Short said. “And it just helps illustrate the lesson.”
To learn more about Short’s programs, contact him at 704-821-2049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.