It has been a tragedy to watch the suffering of the California people. I’ve written about it under the Preparedness blog here at LDSBlogs.com. But there is one additional portion that must be said.
1. Think as a Child.
First of all, imagine a daily routine for a to church. It does not matter whether they were previously involved in an engaging activity or not – they must pick up and leave whenever you tell them to.
This form of complicity is a usual affair for a child. It might be frustrating for them, but because it is a normal occurrence, it is not psychologically distressing . . . because the adult in their life is calm.
But now think as a child during an emergency: if Mom or Dad is “freaking out,” the situation takes on a very ominous feeling. Thus, if you ever find yourself in an emergency event, think as a child. Know that the more calm you can make yourself (even if you’re shaking inside,) the more you will help that child to comply with your requests. He or she needs to know that Mom or Dad are in control – just as when you are going to the grocery store. This will help ease the psychological trauma caused by a tragic event.
2. Be Prepared.
It is one thing to be completely caught off guard and have to flee with the clothes on your back and kids in your arms. But if you are prepared with evacuation supplies ready and waiting, the experience will be softened for everyone.
Make sure you have prepared 72-hour kits with not just essentials (i.e. food, bandages, medicines), but with whittling-away-the-hours activities. Not only will it keep your children busy, but it will help alleviate some of the stress in your life. You won’t be having to entertain them while (at the same time) feeling stretched to emotional thinness yourself. A couple of card games or crayons/coloring books, etc., won’t take much space, but they sure could help soften the anxious hours after an evacuation and help your children acclimate a little easier to a new and difficult situation. Yes, let’s help our children by being prepared.
3. Remember God.
Our Heavenly Father is actually much more merciful than most give Him credit. The fact that California is facing the largest evacuation in U.S. history with only a handful of actual deaths is a miracle in my mind. Houses may have been lost, but I wonder if this holiday season will feel fuller of a rare appreciation for the gift of life. So many have been spared from these vicious fires!
Therefore, share your knowledge of God with your children during difficult times. Make sure you always have a copy of the scriptures or a hymnbook in your car, purse, 72-hour kits, etc. Nothing can bring peace like reading from the word of God or praying. Make sure your children have ample access to both by your loving and heartfelt example. Let our children be strengthened by remembering God.
Children’s deeper needs can be overlooked during tragedies. Therefore, it is imperative that we care for children during difficult times by 1) thinking from their perspective, 2) being prepared, and 3) remembering God. There are many things our children deserve; during a tragedy they especially merit these three forms of supports.