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Preparation, the perfect antidote to paranoia!
CARE PARENTING COLUMN
I remember writing a blog shortly after watching “Kidnapped” starring Halle Berry. I pointed out all the mistakes she’d made and the fact that had this been real life, the ending would have been very different.
During the last week of camp, Richard spoke to several moms about our upcoming “Mommy and Me Practical Self Defence” class and what was clear to him was that moms were walking around scared. Unfortunately, the crime situation leaves us afraid to go on family adventures as freely as we want to. No one likes the feeling of constantly looking over his or her shoulders and wondering if today is the day that some idiot will try to rob you or worse yet, feel the need to pull a trigger to help his testosterone levels.
I guess that’s why for years Jess and I have always had a casual consistent conversation about awareness and safety precautions. We speak in a friendly way and casually about road safety with our children and guess what? They do not walk around the road paranoid now, do they? This is because we do it in a kid-friendly manner, casually and consistently, we probably even have funny road safety songs to help them look left and look right.
In a similar manner, we should be doing this with all other areas of safety. When we enter a building, take the time to work out several plans, what do we do in case of an earthquake? Earthquake safety looks different in a US building versus a T&T building. Why is that? Simple, the building codes are different. We still build door-frames with steel support, so there is a good chance of still standing in a doorway if you are in a friend’s home. So, pay attention to the structure of the building you’re in. Is there an open area, would it be better to run outside, or is the area well developed and cluttered with structures? Take a few moments to play the “I spy” game, but instead of random objects, play “I spy a way I can escape.” For the child, it can be a very fictional scenario, but you are subconsciously placing all the tools in their hands.
Similarly, when dining out, choose your seat wisely, have the main adult (in our case it’s Richard) sit facing the public, that way, he is the first to spot danger and the first to respond. Sit closest to an exit, if that’s not available, maybe a bathroom. I remember waiting on Chinese food once and Richard hated the fact that we sat so far from an exit, it was so funny how easily and casually we began working out various situations yet never once were we filled with fear. We decided that if anything were to happen we were literally right next to the bathroom, so worse case I could lock myself in there.
The more casual and consistent, the less paranoia, add a generous serving of knowledge, practice, and preparation and soon the entire family would be out and about enjoying all the adventures T&T has to offer. We always say it will be a sad day for the person that tries to harm us, it will be a stupid decision, but that crazy way of thinking has only come through years of preparation and constant awareness of our surroundings.
You need not be fit to learn to defend yourself and your family, there are many practical things that can be learned, but the ability to manage your emotions and think critically under duress only happens through repetition, but it is so useful in removing the anxiety that so many homes are sadly filled with today in T&T.
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