MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - 15 years ago, Elizabeth Smart's abduction gripped the nation. A moment, a then teenaged Smart, never thought she would experience.
"I knew don't talk to strangers. I knew how to cross the street, you look both ways. I knew if I ever caught on fire, I should stop drop and roll. I felt like I knew the basic safety rules down," said Smart.
Fast-forward 15 years, Smart now an author, child-safety activist and mother of two, filled the Chap Center at Midland College speaking about forgiveness to those that took her away from her family.
"If I still was angry with my captors, I would still carry that with me every single day," said Smart.
Letting parents know it's ok to be a little overprotective.
"Probably everyday when I talk to my child I always tell her, 'ok Chloe, tell mommy if someone makes you scared. Tell me if someone hurts you.' Starting just very basically," said Smart.
While also informing the public that tough times truly don't last.
"It's very easy to feel defined by what happens to you but to remember at the end of the day you're the person that defines who you are. Your choices really define who you are not so much what happens to you," said Smart.
Messages that the community who came to hear her speak took to heart.