Got a call from the school the other day. Isn’t that always just so much fun?
The weather had taken a turn for the worse, raining buckets and blasting us with gale-force winds (*exaggeration alert*). As a result of this – and also the tornado warnings – my son’s school decided to run some drills.
And hey, I’m not against them. Drills are good things. They run people through where they actually should be, doing what they really should be doing. It’s much better than just mentally stepping through what we think should happen during an emergency.
But this was after a few weeks of studying natural disasters. After putting together emergency brochures on tornadoes, hurricanes, and sinkholes, and having them learn serious facts about damage loss, injuries, and the like.
Obviously, the drills and the assignments were unrelated. But it didn’t seem that way to my son, who knows – and loves – his facts.
So my son’s routine was not only disrupted by drills (in a new school, no less, so he doesn’t know where to go or what to do), but scrolling through his very active mind are newly discovered facts about injury, safety, and devastation.
Not a recipe for success.
Perhaps, as we spotted the lightning flashing horizontally across the sky while navigating through the downpour, it should have occurred to me to discuss how slight the chances for a tornado really are. Perhaps, as we debated windshield wipers – and their various effective speeds – on our daily journey to school, it should have occurred to me to give a calm head’s up about drills.
And about calm. Remaining calm. And thinking calmly.
Of course, none of these sparked in my brain. All of the good ideas – for preventing problems before they happen – took a vacation. I’m sure they had a wonderful time relaxing on a beach somewhere next to a stretch of sparkling ocean waves.
So, as the teacher on the other end of the phone gave me a rundown of just about everything a worried, routine-disrupted, knowledgeable child could do (and say!) while panicked, it did occur to me that sometimes you just have to accept that things don’t always go occurring to plan.
Sometimes, you just have to roll with it, do damage control, and tell yourself, “next time…”
And boy, do I hope “next time” takes its own sweet, unhurried time getting here.
Note: Now that we’ve encountered “drill panic,” it’s a good reminder to go over safety procedures at home, too. And reinforce the reasons and practicality behind the drills. Not every school has a place away from windows, for instance (yes, this came up). People can only do the best they can with what they have. Plus, the drills are not reality; they are to prepare for an unlikely reality. An unlikely reality not made better by screaming, arguing, or panicking.