An earlier evening this week, my hott-hubby Dan emerged from his office with an announcement: “Hey boys… Guess what? There is a tropical storm forming in the Caribbean and you’ll be surprised to hear what the National Weather Service has named it!… ISAAC!”
“Cool! A storm named after ME!” our eight year old son responded with glee! “Blah-ha-ha!…. Yeah right! Isaac is a storm!” answered his older sister, Violet, in her usual 12 ½ year old sarcastic tone. (I know she thought it was cool, too; but she was just bummed that her name starts with a “V” and the likelihood of having a storm named after her is less than slim.)
Then, we heard a small little voice respond, “Oh? A storm?” It was Levi. As the color drained from his face and his freckles began to turn green, Levi froze for a complete 30 seconds. He didn’t say a word. Until finally…
“R.U.N.! Come on! We have to go to the basement! NOW!” The tears began to fall like the impending rain from Tropical Storm Isaac.
What? As Levi is scrambling around the house to grab his stuffed raccoon, favorite book, snacks, and treasures to assemble in the shelter of our basement, my mom radar told me we were about to have a situation on hand. Needless to say: Levi was freaking out!
In comparison, his brother Isaac has already logged on his laptop to investigate the weather conditions on weather.com. As he was providing a full report at the top of his lungs on the location, speed, and forecast, Levi was hysterical! All the while, their sister laughed liked crazy from the kitchen (while never missing a beat on Facebook).
It was complete chaos, until…
“S.t.o.p! Calm down!” You see, Dan is aware that both the boys are super sensitive to storms. In fact, we have spent countless summer evenings in our basement waiting out an occasional thunder-bumper. Once, we saw Isaac dart in the house at the sound of a jet flying overhead. Frequently, we discuss cloud formations. In fact, Isaac is the resident expert on all things weather. He can tell you the difference between cirrus, alto, and stratus clouds. Often, we hear Issac announce to us, and strangers, that he spotted a “Cumulus cloud expanding into a cumulonimbus cloud! Quick! The cumulonimbus is generating heat from the sun to evolve into a thunderstorm! Everyone–to the basement!” Occasionally, Isaac will add with relief, “Well, it looks like there is not enough energy from the sun to expand into a cumulonimbus and the cloud is dissipating.”
Yeah… he talks like that. But it was Levi who darted to the window looking for the correct cloud formation. It was 9:00 p.m. And the storm is over 1,000 miles away.
All that just didn’t matter. Levi was scared. To him, Tropical Storm Isaac was about to erupt on his home any moment.
Three days later, well… Tropical Storm Isaac still hasn’t managed to reach West Virginia. Son Isaac informs us on a regular basis that these mountains are guaranteed to break up any storm of such strength. This, I believe, is mostly to comfort his little brother. Needless to say, the impending threat has created quite a wrench on bedtime. Levi took an extra 90 minutes to fall asleep that night.
Each day, someone calls the house to let us know about Isaac on the news. Today, it was grandma! It is actually kinda funny, isn’t it? Big sister, Caity, who lives far away has even suggested we watch The Perfect Storm. That should really scare it all out of Levi, right?
Wrong. Not a good idea. Instead, we have some strategies to comfort such fears. Let me know what works at your house, okay? My mom steps to “What to do when the children are freaking-out during a storm?” go something like this:
My Six “R’s” to Storm Survival
1) Remain Calm – I find that as long as my voice is calm and quiet, they will replicate. This includes husbands too!
2) Remind – For our family, calmness is always generated by reminding them of scriptures. This one always works for me:
“Cast all your anxiety (and fears) on Him because He cares for you!” – 1 Peter 5:7
3) Replace – I like to replace the “you” in the verse with each child’s name. I think it is so comforting for them to hear that Jesus cares for each, personally! (Me too!)
4) Retreat – Agree on a “safety spot” in your house to retreat. Here, we normally all assemble downstairs in the basement. Typically, it involves some cuddle time, a cozy blanket, favorite toys, and a few snacks.
5) Reinforce – While always providing factual information about the weather, we will allow the children to stay updated on local media. This gains an understanding of how a storm works. As they are able to comprehend more, they seem to gain more control over the unknown and seem less fearful.
6) Recover – Isaac, especially, will pray so hard that it sounds like he is chanting. But you know what? He always, a.l.w.a.y.s., will remember to thank God for His protection. (There was one time when the wind was really blowing. Isaac broke into prayer and, instantly, the wind stopped! I.kid.you.not! Isaac’s response was something like, “Hey, thanks God!”)
Do your children also freak out at the slightest mention of a storm, even thousands of miles away? Or, are mine the only ones that will require years of therapy to recover? If so, share your storm survival secrets with me… I need all the help I can get! And if you are in Tropical Storm Isaac’s path, rest assured the Hott family is sending you prayers for comfort during the storm. I think Son Isaac has connections! :-)
“He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed, They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven.” – Psalms 107:29-30
Copyright © Angie Hott, Moms of Faith, All Rights Reserved