How Books Prepare Our Kids for Crisis

Prepare for the Crisis Before It Happens

Rarely do we see an EF-2 tornado roar through our part of North Carolina. This week in mid-April was different!

Late last Sunday afternoon, my family gathered keys, wallets, shoes, and important papers. My husband had ordered us to the basement. When they were young, we had taught our kids how to prepare for severe weather. On this particular day, our actions were second nature.

He cracked the door once and heard a different sound than we’re used to. (We’ve all heard stories of the approaching sound of a freight train…)

Take cover…it’s coming!

Local weather stations had given ample warnings of severe weather to come. While we did our best, I don’t think anything quite prepared us for this.

Firemen - Courtesy Guilford County Schools

(Photos Courtesy: Guilford County Schools)

Overwhelming Loss

Three elementary schools were damaged so badly that students will have to be sent to other schools to finish out the school year. (I am a former public school teacher. It’s hard to imagine the depth of loss for teachers and students.)

How do you comfort little ones? How do you ease countless fears?

I took food to a neighbor twice this week. When I arrived, the yard was filled with insurance adjusters, a company who had come to clean out the house, friends, family, and two very weary and bewildered folks who could hardly speak through their tears.

This had been their farm, their home, their livelihood for fifty-four years.

The tornado had twisted and snapped power lines right along with the trees in its path. No electricity, lights, running water, heat…

Two days later there were smoldering piles of burning rubble all around the perimeter of their property. Trees, debris, barn wood, anything that would burn had been pushed into a pile with heavy equipment and set on fire. (In a rural farming community, this is the most efficient way to clean up such a mess.)

The mom commented to me that even though all the beautiful trees in her yard were gone, she was grateful to see the debris being taken away. At least she could imagine what she could plant there in the future.

Their story is just one of dozens.

In this midst of extensive physical and emotional loss, thankfully only one person lost his life in this storm. This is quite remarkable since the tornado ripped a fourteen-mile path through the third largest city in North Carolina.

How do you build courage and fortitude into a soul? How do you lend a hand and help someone walk through this kind of crisis?

Books are the natural answer. Hopefully, the majority of us will never have to live through such devastation. Yet we want our students to know what it is like to come to the aid of a person who is suffering.

The story of the world is told through books. Stories of disaster, survival, resolve to build back what once was…these are the types of things we want to talk about with our kids.

Do your kids have what it takes?

The fire fighters, first responders, power companies, American Red Cross, and countless volunteers who sprang into action last Sunday night want no special thanks or recognition. They’ve already shown their courage and strength in the face of extremely difficult circumstances.

May we, in a predominately digital age, never forget how to look beyond ourselves and into the eyes of others who are hurting. May we demonstrate to our kids what humanity at its best could look like in our day.

Pictures speak louder than words

PS – Here are more storm pictures from our local fire department. (I shared their post on my Facebook page.)

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