When I started this blog, almost a year ago, I realized that it would help me to have some structure to it. I had originally thought that I would blog once a week on topics that were relevant to me such as, being a mom, being a runner, and being a coach. My Monday blog posts were designated as “Mom Blog Monday”. So, today as I begin my return to hopefully more regular blogging (now that XC season is over), I have to pass along an idea that I saw a Mom share on the national news to help prevent possible stranger abduction. This Mom proactively prepped her own child with an agreed password, so that the child would know NOT to go with any stranger posing to know his/her parents. How genius!
The Reality of Our World Today
There has been seemingly more media attention brought to light regarding stranger and child abductions as of recent. Sadly, maybe this being a by-product of several recent deaths and abductions within the news.
It is terrifying and unsettling to realize that this media attention comes with the harsh reality and strong caution for all of us. And yet, how can we direct this caution and ability to also be proactive with our own lives and children?
For almost seven years, my oldest daughter and I studied martial arts and self-defense. At the time she was quite young and maybe didn’t even consciously realize the subtle lessons she was receiving. She would often spar much larger people than her and sometimes spar several people at once. Our instructor did a fabulous job of not only teaching her and me how to use our petite frames to defend ourselves, but also to have the mentality and confidence to be able to do so. This message is imperative! Our children must do everything they can; kick, bite, scratch, scream, and have the confidence to do so, in a situation if needed.
“What’s the Password?”
The mother that was sharing her daughter’s attempted abduction on the news, merited their proactive plan of having an agreed upon password. You’ve heard the tactic of a stranger telling a child that their Mom or Dad got hurt and that they (the child) are supposed to come with them (the abductor) to go see Mom or Dad. This specific girl was put in this exact scenario but remembered and had practiced with her Mom, that if it were a real situation, whoever it was would’ve been privy to their families password.
Once the young girl asked the stranger what the password was, the abductor was immediately turned off and fled. This struck me as such a smart and genius plan. Not only does it ward potential kidnappers, but it also even buys a few more seconds for the child to take a look around and possibly pinpoint where to run to for help.
What Else Can We Do?
I urge you to take the time to talk thru a plan with your own families. Aside from martial arts and self-defense classes, there are other general safeguards that you can consider using such as;
Use a smartphone app to keep track of each family member. On Apple iPhones, the pre-installed app is Find My Friends. Directions linked here – https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201493
Another useful app that works across platforms is Life 360. You can also set the app up so that you receive notifications when your child leaves school, or arrives home.
Additionally, on the iPhones at least, there is the ability to make emergency calls by pressing the right side button 5 times. Again, in your settings on the phone you can also enter other emergency contacts that should be notified when an emergency call is made. Of course, save this ONLY for emergencies.
Have talks with your children on what to do in hypothetical situations. I’ve discovered that these talks vary from one kid to the next and with different ages. I never wanted to scare my kids, but I did want them to understand the importance of their safety. Your talks might be very different if you’re talking to a small grade school child vs. a teenager.
Safety for Mom and Dad too
These apps and safeguards might be something that you have a tough time getting your teenager to buy into. Especially, if said teenager is not liking being tracked (if you know what I mean). But hopefully, you can convince them and help them realize that it is for them to be able to also be a lifeline of support if the tables were ever turned.
I’m a runner, and I’m aware of the risks. I am 100% ok with giving my children the security of knowing where I’m at when I’m running. And for convenience sake, they frequently use the app to check things like how far away I am from picking them up at school, after-school practices or a friend’s house. That way they don’t need to distract me if I”m driving.
Today’s topic is not a light one necessarily, but one that seems so important now days. Our school tells our kids that, “If you see something, say something!” If someone or something looks fishy or suspicious, to not just dismiss it. Watch out for yourself and others!
Thanks to Iowa Running Company
Our local Cedar Rapids running shoe store, the Iowa Running Company, is hosting a Ladies Night this Thursday. One of the features they’re offering to pre-registered ladies is a self-defense segment. I love this and am grateful that they’re emphasizing runner’s safety within the community! Thanks, Iowa Running Company!!
If any of you are registered for this, then I will see you there on Thursday as a guest speaker. I’ll be doing a drawing for a free t-shirt give away and podcast highlight of YOUR story. Can’t wait!!