This is a topic most find difficult to discuss. As I read recent articles about missing children and observe the flyers at local grocery stores, it breaks my heart into pieces. As a parent, I cannot even fathom what mothers and fathers go through when their child is abducted or intentionally harmed by an adult in any way. I was recently reading about Madeleine McCann, the child that went missing in Portugal while on vacation with her family nearly 9 years ago. There are reports this week that she may have been found however, an investigation is still underway. We must be vigilant, as parents and caregivers, to never take anything for granted and always be aware of your surroundings. Terrible things happen too quickly and, believe it or not, we DO have control over the care and protection of our child. We can’t predict every situation, but our gut instinct is powerful and we should always follow it without hesitation. As with generations past, we would love to believe that our children can safely play together down the street or hang out in the park without fierce supervision. Just recently in Tennessee, a child was abducted while just walking into a football stadium alongside her family. Some would even debate that bus rides to and from school are questionable. It only takes a split second for an abduction to take place. By no means do I want to encourage living in fear and isolating your child. But we can do better. Teaching our kids about Stranger Danger, Martial Arts, and doing role play or safety drills at home can be extremely key to our child’s well-being. But most importantly, follow your gut. It’s always been said, when you sense something off or out of the norm, it probably is. Don’t second guess or doubt your intuition. It’s your greatest weapon. My husband has impressed upon both Maya and I extreme vigilance when it comes to our safety. I used to think he was too overprotective. But the reality is that our world today is so different. The ever-rising mental heath issues, hard times and overwhelming stress play into much of what’s happening in today’s society and unfortunately, children fall victim in many of these situations. If we continue to stay aware and look after those around us, it can and will prevent a potentially devastating life-changing event. Thank you all for making time for today’s blog.