There I was standing on the south side of Chicago, with a flower on my white shorts that I precisely cut to not show my behind. Stranded. I missed curfew.
I had never been this rebellious before. And my parents would tell you, I was a pretty great child growing up. Getting great grades. Involved in extracurricular activities. So what prompted me on a hot day to head over to the South Side of Chicago to be dancing in the middle of festival?
I can tell you; it was the pressure of always doing what was right.
I had friends who weren't half as great as I was in school doing whatever they wanted to do. And so when I was asked that day about going to this festival, I was pretending to be the cool kid, able to make my own decisions like them, or so I thought. I gave my parents the scare of a lifetime when I called them up and told them I wouldn't make curfew and I had no clue to where I was.
Teach your daughter the importance of carrying items that will protect her when she is off on a date, or in my case, smack dab in the middle of a festival somewhere in Chicago.
Her own money for a taxi, Uber or Lyft ride home.
A fully charged phone in case the need to call her parents or a friend.
Be appropriately dressed, so that she isn't taken advantage of.
A small can of pepper spray, noise maker, and light that she can attach to her key chain.
A small wallet to keep her ID.
And if you have made it possible that she is armed with defense classes, make sure she has a small pocketknife in hand for any given situation.
That night, I made my way home and safe. I was grounded, I didn't see friends until the first day of school. Yeah, we could talk about succumbing to the pressures of peers, their negative influence, and how dad can make it possible that she makes wise decisions based on his guidance through the years. However, some day your daughter may wake up and decide to do her own thing. It was his guidance, and strict punishment that brought me back to my reality the years going forward. For now, make sure your daughter has what she needs in case she ever needs it.
Everywhere I went from that day forward, I knew exactly where I was going, and I had already confirmed with my parents where I would be. I was armed with everything necessary, that if I was stranded again, I was equipped to get home safely.