In the past month I’ve seen a significant uptick in readership from the United Kingdom. On Instagram the leading city of visitors to my profile is London, by a lot. I understand why. The UK has had a scary go of it in the last month. I’ve said prayers for the good people of that nation and hoped that each attack would be the last. The following is for fathers in the United Kingdom, but the advice is practical for any dad anywhere in the world.
UK dads: Be ready.
I constantly urge all of my readers to change how they see themselves in the world, to change their mindset. I fully believe that the world is a beautiful place with amazing people. But sometimes it can be scary. What you need to understand today is what you’ll do when things get scary. Make a decision before you sleep tonight of what you are willing to do to protect your family. Does that mean you’ll start to notice the exits in every building? Will you take a self defense class? Will you resolve to fight ruthlessly to protect your loved ones? Whatever you feel is best for you, decide that today. Waiting until people are running and screaming is not the time to come to terms with what you’re willing to do. Resolve to take action today to keep your family safe.
Understand Your Surroundings
Most people go through life from place to place not giving much thought to what or who is around them. Their faces are glued to their phones, unaware of the environment in which they are moving. This can be dangerous way to live life. You need to become conscious of who and what is around you. Developing a sense of situational awareness is simply knowing what is going on around you. This will help make your family safer. When you can observe people who look nervous, angry or suspicious, you will know how to react safely - if a reaction is necessary at all.
This is not living in a state of paranoia. The sweet spot for situational awareness is called Condition Yellow. This is a relaxed state of alertness where a person is able to observe those around him while still enjoying what he’s doing. I’ve written a five part series on situational awareness for families that will help get you started. Last week I explained a few exercises you can do to develop a working understanding of situational awareness.
Weapons of your Environment
I’ve studied the legal self defense products that can be carried in the UK. As you have significant limitations on what’s available to you to protect yourself and your family, you’ll need to think outside the box. Much like the “skateboard hero” of the London Bridge attack, the best option for protecting yourself may be found in the environment where you are as a situation develops.
There are plenty of things in the average environment that can be used as a weapon in the conditions of self defense. The easiest environment would be a restaurant. At a minimum a chair would make a formidable melee weapon or thrown at an attacker. Plates, glasses and silverware can be thrown as well. A table can be used for cover. And of course a table knife can be used too. As you go from place to place start thinking differently about where you are. After a few days of seeing familiar places in a new light, you’ll begin to see more and more objects that could be used self defense.
Do Not Be Afraid
God didn’t give you this life to live in fear. Over and over again the Bible tells us not to fear; do not be afraid. But as humans we get scared from time to time. We need not live a life shackled to the unknown, being drug down due to the weight of fear. Some of the most comforting words on this topic comes from Deuteronomy:
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6
As flawed humans we will fall short and give in to fear at times. We see it on the news, on social media and in our streets. It’s hard not to let fear seep into our minds and fill our hearts with anxiety. Be strong, be courageous. Hold fast to the words of our loving God. Be an example to your family of a man who doesn’t fear his fellow man, but a father who loves and lives out his faith in God.
Fathers of the United Kingdom, be ready, be strong and be courageous.
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