A Storm is a Comin'
It's hurricane season again and the news media is all a-twitter about a storm that is coming in from the Atlantic. Seasoned Floridians seem to have a tried-and-true approach to the news that a storm is churning. They watch the news, wait for the Cone of Uncertainty to appear (or disappear) and make their own decisions about whether to beat, join or ignore the hoard of people running to get supplies. Some people just start tracking Jim Cantore.
The process of deciding when to Make Your Move to physically prepare is much easier than managing the feelings, especially your kids' feelings, about the impending storm.
This is because the root of all things storm-related is fear. Specifically, the fear that comes from uncertainty. We ask ourselves: Where will the storm hit? Will we have enough water? How can I find time to help loved ones prepare? The media benefits significantly from the public feeling afraid, so you can count on them to get the fear going early, and strong.
The biggest uncertainty that fuels fear, for ourselves AND our kids is: will we be okay?
I believe that the only way to get past fear is to go through it. We can't go around it, as it will only get bigger and more far-reaching. Facing our fear, and realizing that we will Be Okay in The End, is the key.
The message we need to give our kids, during the period of uncertainty and fear before a storm is: You WILL get through this, and you WILL be Okay in The End.
If they are young, explain all the things you will be doing, as Their Adult, to keep them safe. Give them "jobs" (e.g., storing water bottles, helping put away patio furniture) they can do to help you to keep them safe.
If they are older, involve them as much as possible in preparations, so they can contribute to keeping themselves safe.
If they persist with worries and fear about the outcome of the storm, listen to those worries, hear those fears and honor them. Then explain how our community- our city, our state and our country- comes together to take care of people who have suffered storms. And they will do so again, if your family is affected.
Above all, Be their Calm. Show them that careful preparation and planning is YOUR antidote to YOUR fear. They are watching you very closely during this uncertain time and learning more than you know. Giving them the lesson of how to find Calm as a storm approaches may be one of the greatest lessons you teach.
Though these strategies make good sense for bad weather, they also apply to most other life storms that surface on our horizon. The difficult change... the turmoil in a friendship... the discord born from a choice we must make. Storms bring uncertainty... which triggers fear. Helping people go through that fear- helping them to know they will be Okay in The End- is a specialty of mine. Please don't hesitate to call me if you're worried about a storm you see on your horizon.