Father’s Day is coming up this weekend and it got me thinking about some of the great life lessons my late Father taught me. As a kid growing up on a farm in a rural area of Southeastern Virginia, I would ride my horse many miles from home. Because it was my favorite hobby, my father made sure to teach me many survival skills. One of the most important ones is to be aware of my surroundings at all times, no matter where I am or what I’m doing. I want to share some of those suggestions he gave me, and include some I’ve picked up over the years:
First, it’s important to understand that you are responsible for your own safety. It’s your responsibility to be alert to anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
When you’re out and about:
- Never voluntarily expose yourself to environments that aren’t safe (like going into rough neighborhoods alone) and try not to go out alone at night. Avoid unfamiliar areas if possible.
- Don’t take shortcuts (especially through alleys or deserted streets).
- Never really trust anyone you don’t know well. Never assume that because someone looks and speaks normally that they are harmless.
- Women: get your keys out of your purse before you leave. You don’t want to be standing in the parking lot rooting around in the bottom of your bag for your keys. This leaves you vulnerable. Plus if your keys are in your hand while you walk to your car, you can hit the alarm button should a problem present itself and be distracting enough to allow you time to get to your car.
- Always look in and under your car before you get in. Get in quickly and close and lock your door.
- If you stop to help others, don’t get out of the car. Ask what the problem is and make the appropriate phone call.
- When waiting for an elevator, leave the lobby/hallways if someone makes you feel uncomfortable.
- Your car Keys are a great security alarm system that you probably already have and requires no installation. Test it. It will go off from just about anywhere inside your house and will keep honking until your battery runs down or until you reset it with the button on the key fob chain.
- Keep the extra set of your car keys in your bedroom so if you hear a noise outside or someone is trying to get in your house, you can set off the panic button. The alarm will be set off, and the horn will continue to sound until either you turn it off or the car battery dies.
- Always leave your headlights on when arriving home after dark until you’ve unlocked the garage door or front door.
- Know who is at your door before opening it.
- Never let anyone into your home without proper identification. Don’t be afraid to ask for identification.
- Never let strangers into your home to use the telephone. Make the call for them while they wait outside.
Clearly there are hundreds of ways to stay safe and these are just a few suggestions to help you. I encourage you to share these tips with your kid so they can stay safe, too. It’s important to be prepared and take steps to avoid possibly dangerous situations.
Thanks for the lifelong lessons, Dad!