Last week my home was burglarized. At first I didn’t want to share this news with anyone. And up til today only my family, neighbors and the police knew about it.
I decided to tell you because I hope sharing what I learned from the experience will help you. And I hope you never have to go through the painful shock of being robbed.
They say hindsight is 20/20 and in this case there is a long list of things I would have done differently if I could have seen the future. I will share this list with you (see list below).
When I picked up my sons from school on the day of the burglary, I explained what had happened in order to prepare them for the shock of what they would see when we got home…the overturned file cabinets, splintered wood from the door frame, and, the loss of their beloved iPad.
“What did they take?” asked one of my sons from the backseat.
“3 computers. Our most valuable and important things.” I responded.
“That’s not our most valuable things!” he said. “Our FAMILY is our most valuable thing!”
Tears came to my eyes as I realized how right he was…and how I had overlooked such a simple truth.
“…and our house. They didn’t take that.” Said my other son. Right on that count too!
In the hours and days following the event, many more blessings surfaced which we are now very thankful for:
…Caring neighbors who helped install the new door frame and locks…expressing concern and love.
…Supportive family members, my sons’ father, my parents, calling and/or staying with me helping to create new systems for safety and efficiency.
…The miracle of publishing. Most of my data for the book I have been working on for the expanded, print version of “The One Minute Parent” (click link to order) had already been uploaded to the printer. Otherwise all the files would have been lost for good.
…I am also extremely grateful for the wisdom and sustenance I have developed from being a business-owner for the last 12 years. Having weathered many unexpected events, I have learned some things about professionalism and how to conduct business even through a crisis. I managed to keep not all, but most of my balls in the air throughout the recovery process. This newsletter is proof of that….and publishing the book is also proof (although a week after my deadline.)
Finally, I am grateful for my sons pointing out the obvious, the most valuable thing is also my core value, family connection. It takes constant monitoring and awareness, but my sons and I, for the last 10 (almost) years have kept our connection and love and enjoyment of each other alive. Here are a few photos of our science experiments. We took these within 48 hours of the burglary. It was our way of expressing what no one can take away from us, our ability and desire to have fun together, no matter what. Our family values are fun, truth and feeling good with each other. Hopefully we’ll always have that. And if I forget, you-know-who will remind me!
Helpful Tips for Your Protection
(or All the Things I Did Wrong…But You Won’t!):
1-If you don’t have a system to back up your data on your computer, you should do that immediately. If you are a Mac user there are many options, including Time Machine, icloud and of course an external hard drive. When you set up your system make sure you are taught how to use it correctly. Test it.
2-Next, make sure your system works. Test it again and again. The worst case is thinking that you are backing up your data and then finding out you were not. This is what happened to me and I curse myself for not insisting the sales associate who sold me the external hard drive show me how to properly use it.
1-Lights: Don’t scrimp on electricity (like I used to do) and go ahead and leave lights on at night and when you are not home. Giving the burglars a reason to doubt whether or not you are home may make the difference in deciding whether or not to rob you. Even better, get lights that turn on and off automatically throughout the day, indicating someone is there.
2-Locks: Reinforce deadbolts; make sure the screws in the deadbolt go all the way through the first panels of wood (ie. They should be at least 3 inches long).
3-Door frame: Panels around door are usually made of wood not strong enough to hold when someone applies pressure. So, even if the lock is strong enough, the door will splinter and break apart. You can install a stronger door frame, or even one made of metal. Home Depot or any builder can tell you where to get this.
Save important passwords someplace than your computer. Unless you have an encrypted password protection program like One Password, any thief can easily access your bank account, make online purchases, and even open a credit card in your name. If this happens, contact your banker immediately for advice. My banker told me how to put out a ‘Fraud Alert’ on my identity as a pre-emptive measure when I discovered my information had been jeopardized.
If you have an alarm system use it. I had gotten lazy and wasn’t turning mine on when I left the house. An alarm would have stopped the burglars in their tracks. Now I know better!
If you have a new Mac computer, your tracking device is automatically activated. If it is older than August, 2013, you have to manually turn this device on. The police were able to access the ‘Find my ipad’ tracking system with their device, however, since I was not aware I had to manually turn on this function, it did us no good.