The children of Florida detective James Parmenter were raised in a culture of situational awareness. In 1978, 14-year-old Leslie was walking through a parking lot, when a man pulled up in a white van claiming to be concerned for her safety. Not only was she not persuaded, but her brother Danny observed as he drove across that parking lot to her. Getting her into his truck he questioned the man and recorded his vehicle information and license plate.
That information was critical in ending the era of Ted Bundy.
The importance of children was a new thing introduced by Christ. During His time on earth, children were practically shunned by adults. They were expected to grow into and earn respect. When the disciples rebuked people for bringing their children to Him (Luke 18:15), their actions were consistent with their culture. Jesus shattered another paradigm, moving counter-culture when He welcomed the children and established them as the model for adults to value.
We should value them enough to prepare them on situational awareness. Churches get so caught up in making certain their respective theology is engrained into the children, that they leave other life lessons to culture. Many children do not grow up in a home with situational awareness taught to them, nor is it prevalent in our culture. Many young people develop into adults with little or no situational awareness.
THINK ABOUT IT …
Is it not of primary importance to help our youth stay safe? Doesn’t it make sense to set aside some training to be practical life lessons in the category of safety?
Is one youth event per year too much to ask to be set aside as a safety and awareness event? Every law enforcement agency I know would jump at the chance to come to your church and present lessons on not being a victim to your youth.
We must instill the values of faith, with a balance of awareness in our youth. We want them to wear seatbelts; we should want them to be aware of the many other dangers as well.
Consider the safety awareness you want your own children to know. That is the same level you want all the kids in your church to be familiar with.
I would like to hear examples of churches bringing law-enforcement into a youth meeting to teach situational awareness.