Disaster Management is such a dry word …so clinical, a sugar coated word for mayhem ….only seen used in news reporting after disasters have already happened. We don’t talk about possibility of disasters with our kids ….we don’t consciously speak about resilience. We believe in giving a beautiful life to them , we feel children should be kept away from seeing pain and suffering in this world. We try our hardest to show the shiny pretty side of things to them. We feel that they won’t have a choice but to see a lot of it that is not okay with this world , once they grow up. While that is the way precious little ones should be brought up ….with loads of love, lots of sheltering and protecting, by parents being a shield for them, a filter to sieve through the painful experiences and keeping the toxic environment miles away from them. But we all know, how much ever we try but we can’t put them in glass boxes and despite our trying our hardest …they will get in their share some unpleasantness too.
As nobody and nothing is disaster proof.Disasters happen…and there is no way we can keep them always away from our children.We can reduce the negative impact but we also should prepare ourselves to teach them what to do ..if and when a disaster strikes. We need to let them face obstacles and overcome their obstacles on their own. When disaster strikes , it takes a lot away from us in its waves …our calm, our feeling of security and leaves us vulnerable and scared. It brings in feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. To counter these we need to teach our children about resilience.
We need to teach them to be strong and to be tough and ourselves model resilience that helps them to not crumble in wake of a disaster. We need to prepare them for those times as well when things don’t go right and don’t go their way. The ugly head of Terrorism is surfacing everywhere and incidence of war, conflicts, death ….is in our face everyday. We should keep talking of hope and tell stories of courage and people bouncing back from disasters instead of brushing the tough talk under the carpet.
The best way to teach children resilience is to tell them family stories …not just happy days stories, holidays and festivals and family togetherness stories ….but “voyage and return stories”, “heroic stories in times of disasters”, “overcoming the monsters stories” too. Stories about Illnesses and death in the family , natural disasters,accidents, terrorists attacks, conflicts….should also be a part of our family’s story chest. Voyage and return stories told in a positive way …can teach our children that there is a way back from an illness or a bad incident …the journey back brings hope and a will to make things better. Overcoming our monster stories help children learn that …their shortcomings,fear or failures are normal …and we had a lot of those in our share too….and how we can overcome them and move forward. Heroic stories of people coming forward and helping people during the times of disasters like fire accidents, terrorists attacks, war like what’s happening in Syria today help take the focus away from the hopelessness of a degrading world order. Such incidents should make us parents tell our kids that there is enough good in the world too. Stories of people bringing toys and food for Syrian kids, stories of courage of the firemen during the recent Grenfell Tower fire in London, or what’s happening closer to home like families celebrating the person who is no more, a couple handling their divorce well and not letting bitterness creep in,devoted care of a loved one helping in recovery of a family member or friend from a fatal accident, grandparents story of courage during partition etc.
We can’t stop disasters always …death, terrorism, accidents, the famines and droughts , the war, the plane crashes, happening in the world around us or the sad events that happen in our family or with our friends and us..will happen …because that’s the only rule that applies to all of us …..that life doesn’t move in a straight line …it has crests and troughs : goodtimes and downtimes for each and everyone of us.
So let’s teach our children to be prepared for the downtimes ….to face them …and deal with them ….and learn from them.
Let’s teach them to be sensitive people who have a helping hand always stretched out for people suffering in disasters and who are in trouble!
Let’s teach them to be tough for themselves too when a disaster hits them …to push themselves to get back on their feet again!
Let’s teach our children to overcome their own monsters and learn to deal with whatever life throws at them too …instead of lying to them that there are no monsters anywhere and they are safe forever!
Let’s teach them resilience because that is the only thing in our control …not the monsters , not the disasters , neither is God’s will !