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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Letting Go...But Keeping Night Vision Goggles On Hand

By John G. Warren

Being a Public Safety Advisor, I’m probably a little over the top teaching my girls how to stay out of trouble. I’m sure I’m the only father in modern history who eliminated left turns in his morning trips to the daycare so the infant seat would never be susceptible to a side collision that could harm the new baby. I relaxed quite a bit when a few more babies came, but I’ve always sought that envelope of protection involving my family.

These wonderful memories — gates on stairs, latches on cabinets, and prescription bottles impossible for the arthritic to open — would soon give way to each girl blossoming into an independent soul seeking her identity. The day came when I had to face my fear and let them go — to the mall — without me. And even after training them on how to sense or find cover during a potential mass shooting or how how to get to the center of the foyer during a tornado, my oldest daughter still had an incident, even after all my fuss.

While gallivanting around the mall with her friends, she was approached by a handsome man claiming to be a modeling scout. He told this 14-year-old all the right things about becoming famous and traveling the world. He just needed a way to contact her at a future date and would need her personal information. Even the electronic parental controls we had on the girls’ tablets couldn’t stop her from going to what appeared to be a legitimate website and trying to register for training. Her mother — the real parental control — was able to intervene when this individual contacted our daughter by phone. And even though my daughter was crushed with disappointment and embarrassment, we used this situation to drive home a very important lesson regarding the dangers of human trafficking, kidnapping, and the reality of today’s society.

When I first found out, I donned my Rambo bandana, camouflaged my face, and armed myself to the teeth to go find this “so-called” modeling scout. No one was going to harm the little girl in the baby seat who I drove so cautiously to daycare every morning. I swore to never let the scum of this planet come close to my precious little girls. Then I realized they were not the infants in the baby seat in my truck. They were growing up and we were not always going to be around. My wife and I knew this day would come, and all we can do is hope the girls have heard the many lessons we’ve taught.

We realized we had to let go. I’m much better since I turned loose of the control I thought I had on things, and my daughters and their friends seem to be having a fun, normal time when out and about. But that doesn’t mean I don’t keep a pair of night vision goggles and fatigues in my trunk just in case I have to spring into action.


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