Lesson of the Week
Safe: I know what to do about dangerous situations
This big hole could have been a deadly trap. Barrels were strategically placed to mitigate the emergency. Likewise there are two variables that will get you through dangerous situations: the simple truth and your will.
First step to being safe – the simple truth: A mother couldn’t find her way home. She said to her child, “I think we are lost.” Her five-year old son perked up and chimed in, “No we aren’t lost mommy. We are in the car.” The truth was they were safe in the car and the mother could stop panicking. Many years before, English writer and social critic Charles Dickens wrote about the importance of the simple truth and emergencies, “There is nothing so strong or safe in an emergency of life as the simple truth.” First the mother smiled thinking about the child’s comment, calmed down, recognized the truth that she was safe in the car, and eventually found her way back home.
Second step to being safe – your will: “The will is what matters – as long as you have that, you are safe,” stated Evelyn Underhill, English writer and pacifist. The will is the “I am” of what you are going to do — your determination. A husband and wife were in the towers that were hit by airplanes on September 11, 2011. They safely survived the initial impact of the planes, however, they could not find each other and knew not what to do next to escape the falling towers. The wife started to run for boats that were floating in the nearby bay. She suddenly felt a will or determination to find her husband. She stopped and turned. Her will was a prayer to once again see him safe. Even in the midst of the chaos and falling debris, she saw a figure walking towards her. The figure was her husband who had left his office with the desire to find his wife. Husband and wife were reunited and safely escaped the falling buildings. There were no safety instructions for those moments during the terrorists’ attacks. What enabled this couple to escape was first their truth – that waiting, watching, and walking away would bring them together and away from danger and second their will to wait, watch, and walk away from the disaster.
What is your simple truth? How will you let your will, the “I am”, the determination put that truth into practice? Let truth and will guide you to safety on your mission and be like the workers who were guided to place these barrels over the dangerous hole and make the neighborhood safe for all. The danger is still there, but they did something about it.
“If you wait for the perfect moment when all is safe and assured, it may never arrive. Mountains will not be climbed, races won, or lasting happiness achieved.
- Maurice Chevalier, French actor, singer, performer
Activity: Truth and Will
Materials: Paper and pen or pencil
Time: Ten minutes to write and ten minutes per person to discuss the answers.
1. List times you have felt safe during an emergency. Leave enough room to add two more comments to each item.
2. Next to each item in number one, write what truth about that item made you feel safe. (For instance, a woman’s son fell and broke his arm. Her truth was that she had learned first aid and knew how to keep the arm secure until the child could get to the hospital.)
3. Next to each item in number one, write how your will contributed to your feeling safe in this instance. (For instance, a highway driver noticed large tires coming off the truck in front of her and plummeting in the front of her car. The woman told herself, “I am able to drive safely, slow down, keep from veering too sharply and rolling my car.” She was determined to steer herself to safety and did.)
4. Now choose an area of your life in which you do not feel safe. How can truth and will enable you to know what to do in this situation. (Remember, truth is what you know to do and the will is the “I am” of what you are going to do with this truth – your determination.)
5. Discuss your answers with your group. What did you learn from doing this activity?
I am safe so I can .... We'd like to hear your story about knowing what to do in dangerous situations. Write your story below.
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