When Disaster Strikes. . .
What do we generally do when disaster, natural or otherwise, strikes? What does anyone do, for that matter? The general tendency is to panic. All the words of wisdom we may have spoken about how to stay cool and calm is forgotten, flown out of the window. For most of us, only residual panic remains and minds tend to go blank.
Well, there are innumerable examples of people who kept their cool and thereby their ability to keep their heads and think clearly, to save their lives and / or the lives of others. During the recent school shooting in Connecticut (USA), one teacher refused to panic when the school was overran by a gunman. She herded the kids under her charge into a room and barricaded the door using a bookshelf. This quick action not only saved her life, but also the lives of numerous little ones that day. And she did not stop with that. She hugged them all and told them she loved them very much. Later on, she explained that in case anything happened to any one of them, she wanted them to know that they were loved. If this is not courage and quick thinking in a crisis, I don’t know what is.
Many such examples of unsung heroes and heroines can be cited. When the December 26, 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami devastated the coast of Tamil Nadu in South India, ambulance requirements went through the roof and some of the crews were left short-handed. One of the ambulance drivers was a young mother of two who tirelessly drove to and from the disaster scene in Nagapattinam, going days without seeing her family, but too engrossed in trying to save lives to worry about that. And not once did she lose her nerve seeing the devastation around her.
26/11 Mumbai terror attacks saw the emergence of many heroes. When Nariman House, which had Israeli inhabitants in it, was attacked, the rabbi and his wife were killed hours before Indian commandos tried to rescue them. Their two-year-old son Moshe was still alive and his nanny Sandra Samuel, who was hiding in the laundry room, heard him call for her. She rushed upstairs and found his parents lying motionless in a pool of blood. She quickly grabbed the little one and fled to safety. Her quick thinking saved the child’s life and now, Israel is considering conferring the ‘Righteous Among The Nations’ award for her heroic act.
When the 9/11 terror attacks rocked the United States, four young men in the fifth hijacked plane gave up their lives trying to prevent further destruction. They were strangers to each other, yet banded together to try and take over the plane from the hijackers. And when that failed, they succeeded in bringing down the plane, making it crash-land in an open field. They and the other passengers lost their lives in this heroic effort, but their quick thinking prevented an even bigger catastrophe since the destination of that plane remains unknown to this day.
We can go on and on about the unsung heroes, but the point I’m trying to make here is this: if we manage to stay calm and rational in a crisis instead of panicking, the crisis will blow over with minimal damage. As women, it becomes even more important for us to stay calm and clear-headed as more often than not, it’s to us our little ones will turn to for comfort. To keep them calm, we have to stay calm. Clear thought process is the key while handling any crisis.