Helpfulness, Heroism and Hope

Helpfulness, Heroism and Hope

Lately, does it feel like we are on a treadmill running from disaster to tragedy, while reacting to situations unimaginable? The news of the devastating category 4 tornado that ripped through Moore, Oklahoma came via Facebook in a Monday evening panic. A blogger I work with, Lisa Sharp, provided a blow by blow heartbreaking account of friends missing, lost relatives, worry about pets and charged cell phones…all as she moved from a watchful perch on her porch to packing a bag and heading underground. Her last post for a while just stated, “Yes hug everyone…When Okies freak out about tornadoes, it’s bad…” Riveting and horrifying.

As the night dragged on, the death toll rose…but in days to come, stories of helpfulness, heroism and hope emerged. In the wake of such tragedy, there were two stories that reminded me just how powerful humanity is.

1. The New York Times reported about a parent’s worst nightmare. Just as the storm raged, Sarah Johnson rushed from her home in Moore to the hospital because her 4-year-old daughter, Shellbie, was having an asthma attack. Johnson told the Times that she put a hard hat on her daughter and raced to the emergency room, while hail poured down. By the time they got to the hospital, all of the nurses were down to the ground. Johnson shoved her daughter next to a wall and threw a mattress on top of her. The two survived the storm.

2. Just moments after the tornado swirled through Moore, leveling houses, schools, and leaving behind death and debris, a brilliant rainbow spread across the Oklahoma sky. Nature’s prismatic moment illustrated that there’s a spectrum ahead of us that will be decisively noxious and deceptively hopeful.

Photo: Levont’e D. Douglas

8 Reasons To Love Earth Day

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Here are a few reasons to love Earth Day and stay committed to protecting the environment:

  1. According to the Earth Day Network, more than 1 billion people in 192 countries celebrate Earth Day.
  2. Climate Central created an interactive graphic that shows a state-by-state analysis of temperature trends since the first Earth Day took place in 1970.
  3. Dominique Browning’s New York Times interview with Brazilian photographer Sebastio Salgado, tells how falling in love with our planet can show us what we stand to lose.
  4. Earth Day inspired Google to create a fun interactive, animated environmental scene.
  5. Joe Romm from Climate Progress says this about Earth Day: “Affection for our planet is misdirected and unrequited. We need to focus on saving ourselves.”
  6. Antiwar activists in the late 1960s rallied across the country to raise environmental consciousness. It led to the creation of the EPA and passage of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. Watch the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970.
  7. Eco-Activist, Beth Terry, author of My Plastic Life and Plastic Freewalks the walk on Earth Day.
  8. Nature is cheaper than therapy.

Image via Tumblr

Are The Kids Alright?

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The senseless act of violence against innocent people in Boston this week, once again leaves us mourning the loss of lives, worrying about the injured, and asking hard questions – Why? Who? What will happen next?

I jump every time the phone rings. Both my kids live in the Boston area. One has been in lock down twice this week…phone lines down…afraid to go outside. And like so many, I’m finding the heartbreaking stories and images of the bombings at the Boston Marathon difficult to view and comprehend. Yet, who can look away?

What about the children? How do we explain such unimaginable tragedy to children? How do they process an event that in our wildest dreams we could not even imagine happening? How do we help kids cope?

“It’s very difficult. The first thing you do is check in with your own emotions. Because you can guarantee whatever you’re feeling, your kids are feeling as well.” ~ Dr. Janet Taylor, community psychiatrist, Clinical Instructor of Psychiatry at Harlem Hospital

One of the most valuable lessons I learned as a teacher after 9/11 was that children develop a deep sense of empathy when they are given the tools to cope with difficult circumstances.

There may not be one prescribed road map to reassure children that they are safe, but here are 5 wonderful resources leading the way:

1. National Association of School Psychologists: A National Tragedy: Helping Children Cope

2. American Psychological Association: Helping Your Kids Manage Stress In The Aftermath

3. Boston Mamas: Five Certainties Following The Boston Marathon Bombings

4. Parents: Boston Marathon Explosions: Be In Control of What Your Child Will Hear and See

5. Boston.com: After the Boston Marathon Explosions, What Parents Should Do

Our kids live in a difficult world right now. While they may not experience physical injuries, emotional wounds can run deep. Let’s take this horrific tragedy and encourage our kids to deepen their feelings of empathy…and please give your kids a hug.

Egg Shell Sculptures

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Elegant – These photos of gorgeous egg sculptures are created by Chinese artist, clinic Wen Fuliang.

Fragile – When Wen Fuliang was laid off from his job as a wood carver, pilule he turned to this unusual and skillful form of art to make ends meet.

Repurpose – He uses chicken, goose and duck eggshells to carve out designs and places of interest.

Artistry – Egg carving is done using a fine diamond bit on an electric rotary tool. Wen Fuliang carefully empties the yolk and egg white with a syringe and sketches a design on the shell.

Happy Easter! Happy Spring!

MORE Easter posts:

DIY Silk Eggs From Old Ties
Super Natural Eggs
3 Ways To A Clean Air Easter
“Green” Easter

Photo via Daily Mail

Equal

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EQUAL: e·qual  /ˈēkwəl/ Adjective: Being the same in quantity, size, degree, or value. Noun: A person or thing considered to be the same as another in status or quality.Verb: Be the same as in number or amount.

It’s time for marriage equality.

The U.S. Supreme Court began hearing arguments Tuesday in cases involving gay marriage.

3 Reasons why it’s time for marriage equality:

  1. 9 million Americans are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, according to a 2011 study by a scholar at the UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute.
  2. 49% of Americans now favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, according to a Pew Research Center poll conducted in mid-March. 44% percent are opposed.
  3. There were 646,000 same-sex-couple households in the United States in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

My best reason for supporting marriage equality: I fell in love. Got married. Nobody told me I couldn’t. It should be every American’s constitutional right to marry the person they love.

Do you believe it’s time for marriage equality?

Source: Politico Painting via Designerman