The need to be aware of your surroundings has become particularly pressing this week as our community woke up to the newspaper article of a female attorney who was shot and killed between her garage and the back of her house upon arriving home from her 40th birthday celebration. It does not appear that there is probably anything she could have done to protect herself but again reminded me of self-defense training and many internet sources and police departments that agree that awareness makes up 90% of self-defense and 10% is actual techniques.
As with topics in the gospel – repetition is how we learn. I think we all know that we are to be mentally aware of our surroundings, but we get busy with who are with or often the thoughts in our own head.
We can remind ourselves, spouses and kids to pay attention by simple reminders. I am often reminded that I am in “code white” by my kids. It means that mom is not paying attention and has no idea of her surroundings. The color code of awareness has been a helpful strategy – even a “game” in our home.
It is said that we should try to stay in “code yellow” most of the time. This is just normal routine living – you are not paranoid but paying attention so you have the ability to notice something odd – such as the trashcans have moved or there is a person in the crowd that is acting odd. “Code yellow” does many helpful things for us. It helps us take in the absolutely breathe taking beauty in this world that the Savior has created for us. It also keeps us alert and paying attention, so we avoid the, “mom, mom, mom, mom, are you listening” issue when the kids catch us not paying attention and it helps us be in a position to notice when others need help – it is our charge to be good Samaritans and be Heavenly Father’s “relief” society.
The next level is “code orange.” This is where you know something is not right and you are now paying very close attention to every detail that you can take in and are trying to plan escape routes and what you can do to protect yourself and those around you. This may be a surprise person in the parking garage with you as you spend a late night at the office. There may be nothing wrong and the gentleman in the garage with you was also working late and is trying to hurry to get home to his family. This is often called the ready position and helps you prepare for “code red” or allow you to gracefully move back to “code yellow” and say a prayer of gratitude that all is well and also that you didn’t act in a way that you would regret.
“Code red” is when you are in danger. You need to carry out what you decided to do when you were in “code orange.” You are in conflict and you must decide fight or flight. Any opportunity you are given, even if it is split seconds to get to go from yellow, to orange, to red protects your opportunity to be successful and may also give us just the amount of time to request heavenly help.
This simple technique is easy to use and easy to practice. Take the time to ask yourself, “What code was I in?” As I always tell my kids, “Go out there and do great things.” But I think behind that statement is a charge to be aware of what is happening around you so you can do great things.
Have an awesome week. --Angel Zimmerman, WIL Committee member, seminary teacher, mother, president-elect of the Kansas Women Attorneys Association