Wow, 2016 has come and gone already. This has been a crazy year hasn’t it? From police shootings to Pokémon Go, the election to the death of David Bowie, 2016 was like none other. Only in a year like this could the Chicago Cubs win the World Series and the Dallas Cowboys make the playoffs. As we reflect on the hot mess this year seemed at times, it’s time to look forward and make some 2017 resolutions.
A lot of people who make new year’s resolutions tend to look to weight loss. That’s not a bad idea. I know I need to lose a few pounds. But let’s face it, we’re probably not going to still be exercising in March. But I think there is something about your health resolutions you need to consider, your safety. Your, and your family's, well being really is top priority in your life isn’t it? So let’s look at some things you can do to keep healthy and safe - and you don’t need to cut out MoonPies.
Change Your Mindset
Your safety and security starts with how you look, see and understand the world around you.
When the Secure Dad launched in 2016, this was the first idea I wanted readers to get their mind around. Your safety and security starts with how you look, see and understand the world around you. We don’t live in a world where we can sleep with the doors unlocked or let our kids play outside until dark. It is a shame. I don’t take any pleasure in writing those words. Our world has always had bad people in it, but it seems today the bad people are getting closer and closer to home. We as citizens need to take responsibility for our own safety and that means doing things a little different. I have a few specific posts about this here, here and here.
But what you need to do for 2017 is understand that first responders are wonderful, but they don’t come until someone calls them. Until they arrive, your safety is all on you. If you actively look for people that stand out, don’t go down dark alleys and keep your face out of your phone, you will be safer than you were last year.
Watch What You Post Online
Don’t post pictures of you skiing in Aspen if you live in Birmingham. People will figure out real quick that your house is empty.
If 2016 has taught us anything it is that social media is brutal at times. From fake news to ripping your friends apart for their political views, social media is now anything but social. Be one of the people who is kind and understanding online. Be the change that reminds us that Facebook is really for cat videos and Epic Rap Battles of History.
Also when we start this new year, be mindful of how your vacation posts can set your family up for crime. Don’t post pictures of you skiing in Aspen if you live in Birmingham. People will figure out real quick that your house is empty. While you may trust your friends with this information you never know who your friends are letting use their phones. Or worse, one if their accounts may have been hacked. You can’t be 100% certain that bad guys won’t see your plans.
Read A Book
Be a step ahead of a crisis by being mentally prepared and informed of what to do next.
This one is always a good idea. There are several books about safety and situational awareness. Pick one of those up from Amazon and read it. It will give you the information you need to better understand the people, events and reactions around you. Be a step ahead of a crisis by being mentally prepared and informed of what to do next.
I wholeheartedly suggest Gavin de Becker’s, The Gift of Fear as a place to start.
This book will open your mind to the way people behave certain ways. I admit I understood friends, family and former co-workers better after reading this book.
Understand Situational Awareness
Knowing what is going on around you is paramount to understanding how you need to act in the event of an emergency.
I’ve not written my personal thoughts on situational awareness yet, because I don’t want to rush it. Look for this in early 2017. But situational awareness boils down to understanding your environment and how people are interacting in it. Knowing what is going on around you is paramount to understanding how you need to act in the event of an emergency.
If you are enjoying a cup of coffee at your local coffee shop, you expect people to be happy, quiet and moving at a slower pace. If you see a man walk in with his hands shoved in his pockets and pacing around by the cash register, this should stand out to you. This does not mean you act, you simply pay this individual more attention than everyone else. He may be up to something. This article from the Capable Civilian is a great place to start your situational awareness training.
Spend More Time at Home
Your children need their father in their lives. Countless studies have proven that the prescience of a loving father greatly increases a child’s opportunity for success.
This year has been a tremendous year of change for me. I left my full time job to follow what God wanted me to do. This blog has been apart of that. Since following God’s will, I’ve been home more often. Honestly I thought this would drive me crazy since I’ve always been a workaholic. Instead I learned I needed to more present at home to my wife and son. I wasn’t traveling for work anymore and my 45-55 hour work weeks were gone. My availability to be home more has been one of the greatest gifts God has given me recently.
Your children need their father in their lives. Countless studies have proven that the prescience of a loving father greatly increases a child’s opportunity for success. (That’s also covered in de Becker’s book.) Change your work life to be home sooner and don’t work on the weekends. Yes, fathers need to make sure there is money in the bank for food on the table, but you need to be there for your kids. It is just as important. (Don’t make me post Harry Chapin’s Cats in the Cradle.)
Please don’t work yourself to death. A friend of mine gave me some of the best fatherhood advice I’ve ever heard: “Don’t work extra gigs to buy your kid six pairs of shoes. They can only wear one at a time anyway.” Makes you think, right?
Thank you for your support in 2016. It means more than you know. Now, clean up the Christmas decorations, watch some football and relax - 2017 is going to be the year of the father.