Here is What I Really Mean When I Tell You to Be Careful…

To my children:

When you head out to do the things that you do, I often tell you to “be careful.”  Sometimes, however, this message gets blown over and the true message gets left behind.  When I tell you to be careful, I am actually reminding you to remember 3 important ways to keep yourself safe.  

Be Vigilant.

Being vigilant means that you are aware of your surroundings.  It means that you know what is going on around you…beyond your cell phone’s screen and beyond your “bubble.”  Being vigilant means that you are alert and observant – which is helpful when it comes to avoiding dangerous situations.  

Does someone look suspicious?  Is someone paying too much attention to you?  Are there signs in the area warning of danger?  These are all things that you should notice if you are being vigilant.

Be Cautious. 

Being cautious means that you are being careful to avoid potential problems or dangers.  A cautious person does not act impulsively or recklessly.  Being cautious means that you don’t take unnecessary risks or gamble with your safety. 

A cautious individual doesn’t approach animals in the wild or ignore posted safety warnings.  A cautious individual also wouldn’t run across a busy street without using a crosswalk – or play a rough sport without the proper safety equipment.  

Be Smart.

Being smart means staying focused and using your intelligence (and experiences) to avoid dangerous situations.  Being smart also means that you make good decisions when the situation dictates. 

A smart person wouldn’t do anything that would put their safety at risk – or the safety of others, for that matter. 

So, there you have it – the 3 expectations I have of you when I remind you each time to “be careful.”  Please remember them and put them to good use!