In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, I couldn’t think of any other topic that I wanted to write about. This past week has been a difficult one for so many. People without power, hot water, food, and let’s face it – no electronics for this generation is NOT easy for anyone to grasp! So it has been “back to the basics” for most families.
Though most of my neighborhood lost power, we were a few of the “lucky ones” who miraculously never lost power. This allowed my family to play the role of host, which we were all to happy to do for so many who needed us.
Watching a movie together with my children during the storm was a treat. A family with an 11, 9, and 6 year old can’t always find a movie that we can all agree on, not to mention finding the time between after school and weekend activities. It was so refreshing to sit and bond as a family. I kept thinking that I wished we were able to have more times like this to be able to hang out together.
Now, don’t get me wrong – all this time together has not been without typical sibling fighting, but that was all part of the “fun.” My kids actually got together with neighbors and family friends and played Monopoly (it had been collecting dust in that basement closet before this storm!) I have to say, I love how board games made a comeback this week! I am definitely going to try and keep this going in my home after I saw how much the kids enjoyed playing.
I am a big believer in trying to find the positive in every situation, so even as many people are still without power, I thought it was important to try and find some of the good things that the storm brought out in our children. There are so many different important thoughts to take away from this past week. Here are a few:
- Kids learned that family is so important. If all you have is each other, you are OK! Sticking together during times of crisis is what is so important.
- Reaching out to people who are in need is something that our kids saw a lot of this week. Being a good person, friend, and neighbor shined through in so many different homes this week. Five of my neighbors banned together and cut down a tree in order for cars to pass through the road. People came to my home who needed a hot shower, to do their laundry, a place to sleep and to use electric outlets to recharge their phones. Whatever people needed, friends and family were there to pitch in and help. This is the best role modeling you can give to your children.
- Hi tech computerized games are NOT the only way that kids can entertain themselves. Hanging out, arts and crafts, talking, dancing, board games and baking, can be fun too!
- Donating to people who are without homes and shelter is a must. Kids need to know what it means to go into their closets and pick things out for other children who have nothing. Teaching them when they are young sets the ground work for the kind of people you want them to be when they grow up.
- What we think is the “most” important thing one day can be so very unimportant the next. Life can be put into perspective in the blink of an eye.
- Always be prepared! Until last week, nobody ever thought that filling up their gas tanks would be so imperative. Now, waiting in a three-hour line for something as simple as a full tank of gas means the world to everybody. It shows people that you never know what to expect- you should always be prepared for anything!
- The feeling of being “taken in” is something that many children learned this week. Sleeping in another family or friend’s home is something a lot of kids experienced. A pull-out couch, a few kids to a room – whatever it took, people banned together in times of need. We hope that our children learned that they should be the ones to help someone else who may need them one day.
- It’s the simple things in life. Kids learned what NEEDS vs. WANTS are this week. We need power. We want a new Xbox game. Though this is a hard concept for kids to grasp, living through it allows them to see how their needs and wants change.
Being thankful is something that can’t be taught. It is a feeling you get when you realize how fortunate you are. Sometimes it is the little things, sometimes it is something larger, but in this case it is something that our children learned by watching their parents lead by example.
If you have your health and your life is going to go back to “normal” in the next week or so, please be THANKFUL – it could have been a lot worse. Remember, this too shall pass. Hurricane Sandy 2012 will be a story you will share with your kids and your grand kids one day. Remember to try and take something positive out of a bad situation and be grateful that you have your family and your health. That is truly what matters most.
Mental Health Consultant
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