Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Gift of Fear

Today I want to recommend that you read The Gift of Fear, a book by Gavin DeBecker. A couple of days ago, I mentioned that we have a Distant Early Warning (DEW) system that is inborn, and which automatically warns us of potential harm. DeBecker's book is the definitive work on this topic.

His early life experiences led him to make the prevention of violence his life work, and The Gift of Fear tells that tale. His anecdotal illustrations are so compelling that, if you're an empathetic person, you might weep at more than one point in the book, as I did. Emotion aside, Gavin DeBecker has an impressive resume. For example, he has developed threat assessments used by the CIA, the US Supreme Court police and the US Marshals Service.

The Christian Maritalist trains himself not just to engage violent people. He should become an expert at recognizing, avoiding and preventing violence. Think of The Gift of Fear as your textbook for the course"Dealing with Violence 101. "Here are some things you will learn from the book:
  • Random, unpredictable violence isn't random, and it's usually predictable;
  • Why & how that nagging, undefinable sense that something is wrong can be your best guide in avoiding violence;
  • How to evaluate the dangers posed by strangers;
  • How to deal with someone who won't let go;
  • Why a restraining order often precipitates the violence it's intended to prevent;
  • How to help your loved ones be safer;
  • How to tell whether the employee you fire may react violently
Just running through those points impressed me with the fact that I need to read The Gift of Fear again. I originally found the book in my public library, and you may do the same. I found it valuable enough to want a copy of my own. If you want to buy it from amazon, click on one of the links for a paperback copy, or this link if you prefer an audiobook.

One caveat: The Gift of Fear is not written from a Christian perspective. It explains intuitive warnings in terms of evolution rather than of God's design. A Christian should read this (or any) book critically and from a Biblical perspective. Also, the vivid descriptions of violent events may be upsetting to some. Even after all the warnings, I recommend The Gift of Fear. After reading the book, my daughter Theresa responded to an unusual situation in a way that may have saved her and her children. Perhaps I'll share that story another time.

1 comment:

Donna B said...

Papa, just wanted to say that I love your "about me" writeup.