Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What are you willing to defend?

My wife recently shared a video with me. What occurs in the video disturbed me.

She suggested that I post my thoughts on it and here I am. The video isn't very long and I suggest you watch it for a clearer frame of reference. You can find it here:

In this video we see a young boy (8 years old) retrieve his mothers wallet from a thief who is making away with her bag. What the little boy did was quite admirable especially at his age. However I feel it was wrong. There were so many things that could have gone wrong, that thankfully did not. The thief could have struck the boy. The boy was also in danger of being run over as he chases the truck. The worst case scenario would have been if the the thief abducted the child. A very possible outcome.

There are deeper lessons here as well. What are we teaching our children when we see a boy risk his life to get his moms bag back? Are we sending an unspoken message that things are very important-more important than our well-being?

I have a saying that I say to my wife constantly. She says its my mantra, and she is right. The saying is: "Don't leave anything in the car that you aren't willing to lose." What does this mean? It means you don't leave items that you value or that have intrinsic value sitting in the car. I learned this the hard way after leaving my wallet in the car once and remembering I did so ten minutes later, only to discover a broken window and no wallet.

The incident in the video would never have occurred if the mother had taken the bag with her AND locked her doors. I'll take it a step further, beyond things. I never leave my children alone in the car-EVER. Doesn't matter if its gas or a bagel in the morning. Weather is not a factor either. If its too inconvenient to take the kids, its too inconvenient and will have to wait until I'm alone.

This mother was very fortunate her son wasn't hurt or worse. She had the right response if you see her reaction to the incident. She needs to go further and take the steps necessary to prevent things like this from happening in the first place. By leaving the bag in the car she was the catalyst for the event, since it was a crime of opportunity. I can't help but feel that as a new yorker it amazed me that she left her bag in the car to begin with. This is an action that does not occur in big cities, we just don't do that.

So its possible her behavior is influenced by environment, but ultimately it goes back to awareness or the lack thereof. (See my post on awareness here: for more on that subject)

 What does this mean for us? Well I have a conversation with my kids periodically, it goes something like this:

Me: " Why don't we cross the street at the wrong time? "(This is a reference for any behavior that could be dangerous to their well being, but crossing the street is familiar to them)

Them: "Because we can get hurt by a car!" ( Very proud of their answer as they both chime in)

Me: "Exactly and in the whole universe how many of you are there?" (They are silent for a few moments)

Them: "Only one."

Me: That means that you are special, unique and important to Mom and Dad.

They both nod in agreement clearly pleased at having the right answers and realizing that  in the ENTIRE UNIVERSE there is only one of them and that their safety is important to me and their mom. Its a lesson that needs to be repeated often.

This not only goes for the children it goes for you as well. The question in the heading  "What are you willing to defend?" comes from our self defense course and is always asked by our instructor Senpai Elena. The second part to that question is : "How are you willing to defend it?"

 We have had people who may shy away from defending themselves for a multitude of reasons. Once they are asked-What if your children are in danger? It shifts immediately to ferociousness and devastation. Why not be aware and defend themselves all the time so that they can be around for those they hold most dear? When presented that way, you can almost see the light-bulb go on.

If you learn to be aware, take the appropriate steps, and acquire the skills-you can diminish the danger to yourself and your loved ones. Don't let it take a close call or worse to begin this. Start today.

strong spirit-strong mind-strong body

Sensei Orlando


Allen Jasson said...

Nice article, very useful information.

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