Back when we weren’t using the internet last spring/summer, I got to the library and reserved all the books I had been meaning to read since forever. And then in those books, I looked in the back under ‘recommended reading’ and reserved those books that looked interesting. In Protecting the Gift, he recommended Packaging Girlhood, which is about how advertisers are working to shape what society tells girls to do. I thought the book was insightful, didn’t agree with all of it (isn’t that always the case?) but did think it was worth reading for the information on marketing to girls. Protecting the Gift was really good, I agreed with most of that one.
I don’t have the books in front of me right now, but I’ll tell you what I remember anyway. Protecting the gift is an amazing resource about what to teach children about strangers, as well as what parents should *really* be afraid of. The Gift of Fear is a similar book by the same author that has similar information, but is targeted at adults rather than children/parents. Gavin DeBecker uses logic to bust through myths surrounding people being out to ‘get’ you or your child and helps you to listen to your instinct and make yourself a less likely target.
I found the information on how predators pick their victims to be both empowering and educational. Now I’m not operating out of fear when I’m wary of someone; I’m doing things that are known make myself and my children less attractive targets. For instance, before if I saw someone looking at me and they make me uncomfortable, I’d turn away and try and hurry to get out of there. Or I’d shrug it off as me being silly and paranoid and go on with what I was doing. De Becker teaches that if someone is making you uncomfortable, listen to your instinct, and let it be known that you are not going to be an easy victim.
I’m a pretty shy person by nature, but even I find it easy to turn around and look someone in the eye, as he suggests, if they are making me uncomfortable. It’s easy for me to do now because the way he explains it makes it make sense, and when I have a good reason to do something, I’m much better able to force myself to do it.
How does this fit into my ‘Happiness’ blog? I believe that when we are truly informed we are able to address the 10% or less of our fear that is real and then we are able to let go the other 90% and lead much happier more productive lives. It’s really similar to budgeting and money for me; when we were just doing whatever and had no plan, whoosh, all the money was gone. Now that we put a little bit of thought into where our money goes, we have a direction and a whole lot more peace. And a lot less $100 trips to Target ‘since we never have any money anyway, this shouldn’t make a difference’
This book really just gave a method to my maddness, so I’m able to actually do something about what needs to be addressed, and let go what doesn’t.