I hate to go all serious on you, but I must...only for this post, I promise.
I just attended an amazing enrichment night. The topic was "Safety from the Storm"...how to protect ourselves and our families from the adversary. I document for selfish reasons. I wanted to put everything I remember down "in stone" so that I could refer to it. But, I am happy to share it with you, because the information shared was invaluable. May I just say, that I am probably one of the most paranoid people and I was a little nervous about going, but I am so glad. I feel very EMPOWERED.
First, we had a police chief (in the business for thirty-six years, and a temple worker) speak to us on how we can protect oursevles physically. He said that bad things happen, generally, to people who do dumb things. Meaning, people who don't take the care to lock doors and windows at home, who provoke people on the freeway, who don't lock their car doors etc. are more likely to be the victim. So, rule number one, be smart. He also said to not be so trusting of people. I have to admit that this kind of bothered me a little, but I have to agree. Most offenders of the law look like any one else on the street and you have to be careful. One interesting thing he said is to be aware of the way we walk/present ourselves. By this he meant, walk with confidence, be aware of your surroundings, look people in the eye. People who look like they might put up a fight are less likely to become a victim. Insightful, I thought. He also gave his full approval of cell phones... even for children. Shocking. My little guy has been begging for one, and now I may have a justification for getting him one. He said to be careful of how we dress. Skin attracts sexual predators. Oh, he also said to be a good witness. Meaning, if we see something questionable happening take good notes. License plate numbers are key. If something doesn't sit well with us, if our guts are telling us something is not right, we should rely on that, too. It's okay to report things that may or may not be a big deal. Our phone call may be the missing link in catching someone they've been looking for. Oh, he also asked what we would be willing to lose our life over. Naturally, in a room full of women, the response was our children (or family). This is probably the only valid reason for fighting our offender. It is not worth it to fight for our car, our purse or whatever else. Just give it to them.
Always keep you car doors locked while driving. Keep your blinds closed at night so that we aren't giving some sicko a free show. Don't let your predator ever take you to a second location, EVER. Fight with all you have. It's worth it to get shot in a public place where help is readily available than to be carted off to some remote location where no one will hear or see you.
Oh, just like we tell our kiddies, do not approach the cars of strangers, EVER. Make sure our kids know this too. Teach our kids not to open the door for strangers, even if we are home. And, we shouldn't open the door to strangers either. That is our greatest barrier protecting us from the outside. If you leave your kids home alone, it's better that they make noise, so that it appears like people are there.
I know there was more, but I can't think of anything right now. Oh, one last thing, if your car breaks down and someone stops to help, do not get out with them. Keep you doors locked and stay inside. If they tell you they can't fix the problem without your help, stick a dollar bill out the window and tell them to call a tow truck for you. But, don't ever get out of the car. (Thank goodness for triple A and cell phones). One more last thing, be aware that after 11:00 pm, you are dealing with a different breed of people. He said that this is the time of day when the "nightcrawlers" emerge. People who have been drugging all night are just waking up, people who've been on porno websites are just venturing out etc. So, if you have to go out afterhours, please keep this in mind. Knowledge is power. Yeah baby!!!
Okay, the second speaker took a less intense approach. He is a seminary teacher and he spoke to us on how we can protect ourselves spiritually. It's actually very easy and there are four things we can do. These four steps come straight from the first presidency.
One: Family Prayer. Preferably both morning and night. A good approach is to pick a time both morning and night and designate that as family prayer time. He shared a story of how when he was a teenager he would race home to make it by ten for prayer. And the rule was that the last person in the house kneeling would say the prayer. So, if he had a date in the car and she slowly sauntered in, she'd usually end up giving the prayer. He said that eventually his dates and friends picked up on this and that it would become a mad dash to the house.
Two: Family Home Evening. We hear it a lot, I know, but it must be important. We need to be having family home evening. He shared a really good idea about dedicating our homes. He encouraged everyone to do this, and explained how he took the scripture, I forget the exact reference, but I'll do some research, that talks about building a house of prayer, a house of fasting etc. He took each of these qualities and made a FHE out of it in preparation for their home dedication. After he finished with them, they held a family fast and everyone went to the store and picked our their most favorite food item. After the fast and dedication were over they had a huge feast. Fun. He added that this has become a family favorite and tradition every time they move.
Three: Scripture/Doctrine study. He said that every family should be reading the Book of Mormon together. And, when you finish reading it, start all over again. He and his family have read it seven times. It's okay to read other scripture, but do it in conjunction with the Book of Mormon. He reminded us of how Joseph Smith said it is the "most perfect book". For those of us with young kids who probably don't understand we should still read directly from the scriptures. Just try to explain as you go along. I forget what prophet it was, but he said that there is no question/problem; financial, social, emotional, vocational etc, that cannot be answered or resolved in the scriptures. Hmmmmm. The speaker also mentioned that if we are reading our scriptures we will notice a difference in our patience with our kids and families, we will notice our kids becoming more receptive and obedient to us, more peace overall. I need that!
Four: Wholesome family activites. I guess it's up to our discretion to decide what these are. One thought he did share is for the father's to give our childen blessings. Make it a tradtion every school year. Neil A. Maxwell said that a father's blessing is one of the few blessings, aside from a patriarchal blessing, that can be recorded and referred to. He strongly encouraged everyone in the room to get a father's blessing and to use it as a reference. I would imagine that anything that builds family unity would fall under this category, like family vacations and outings etc.
Anyway there it is, "Cliff's notes" version. Probably not as entertaining as the real deal, but...