His wasn't so much as example but more of a stern demeanor and strict orders. His son and daughter, both instructors, had been riding since just about before they could walk and he indicated they always wore helmets..I saw them both in shows off girl scout camp season (when I learned to ride from their place) and despite the experience of these two, you never saw them without a helmet.
As for when I learned to ride... '76 timeframe; I was newly turned 11. :)
Do as I say and not as I do
. Thankfully none of the guys I knew worried about it. It would not have done for him to have tried telling me to wear a helmet in 76, in college, still working on weekends and holidays with 4 years of working cattle under my belt at that point and having done 60-100 miles on long weekends camping off my horse when time permitted (something he should have been able to relate to, since I learn much of what I knew from the old timers....even had my grandfathers old WW I coat he gave me to wear during cold and foul weather). Sort of funny now that I think about it. At least 1/2 of what I had was old military gear (boots, leggings, poncho, coat, blanket, belt, canteen, scarf, entrenching tool....I was all set for a Cav that no longer existed
) except for my tack (needed a saddle better suited for work), jeans, shirts and a denim "cowboy" hat (birthday present) that was still in good shape and I was still using 30 years later, but lost it in a fire. Not much different today, except I don't have an old WW I coat anymore and I use an old Cav knife that doubles as my entrenching tool. Ah, but I digress
No one in my family, except for my daughter and grandchildren have ever worn a helmet (I'm the only one who even owns helmets (3 of them -bought for the grandchildren) and my daughter just wears one to set an example to her children). My boys were both over 16 when they started helping out. The youngest doesn't care to ride, just takes care of the horses. My older son, if he rides, rides with whatever's on his head (and feet) at the time
(usually a flat cap and sandals or barefoot
....I keep telling him he's going to get a foot broken when one of them steps on him). He's survived his toes being stepped on a few times
With none the worse for wear
. It's his feet so his call.