Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Are you preparing your MIND too?

Food storage has been drilled into our minds. We know we need to collect those staples that will keep us alive if/when things go haywire in our economy. We also know we need to store non-perishables and sanitary items and water and clothing and other things that help with survival. All of these things will take care of us IF that's all that goes wrong.

But there is more you can do! And I learned today that you can't start learning it too soon!

I'm a cub scout den leader. I have 2 little boys under my care, plus 2 more that we affectionately call our "Honorary Cub Scouts" and do things with them too so they feel as official as they can be while they wait till they are old enough to be official. Today was our den meeting. The two official cub scouts were there and my youngest child, Jared, was with me. It was 99 degrees outside today....and this is the south where humidity is commonly as high as the temperature. It was a painful heat, as if we were cooking from the inside out.

In our meeting, we were in a room with no air conditioning. We practiced tying some knots and then I taught the boys how to tie neckties. They were having a blast, but I saw their attention spans waning fast. Mesa, my daughter, is my assistant den leader. So I told her to help the boys collect our things and I would go check with the other group of boys to see if they were ready to join us in a game.

I was gone less than 2 minutes. When I walked back into the room, the boys were concerned about Mesa---who was laying in the floor. I asked the boys what had happened and they told me that she had passed out. They checked her to see if she was bleeding and they reported to me all that they knew. They told me she wasn't playing around and they were leaning over her to figure out what more they could do. Then they moved back to allow me space to take care of her.

What makes this significant is 1) they boys had just learned some very very basic first aid steps just two weeks ago, and 2) their ages: Jared 5, Luke 8, Morgan 9.

Now this story is simplistic, but it is also profound. These boys remained calm, and by doing so, they set the tone for me to also stay calm. They checked for the immediate signs of trouble and reported their findings to their leader- me. They stepped back immediately to allow space and air, and then they moved along to the next phase of the cub scout meeting.

These children listened and learned and then APPLIED their new knowledge. They have no idea just important it was that they perform in exactly the ways that they did. They didn't do it for reward or even congratulations (they will be getting one though! I'm just too proud of them not to reward their efforts), they just did what needed to be done. Because they did, a bad situation was avoided and Mesa is just fine now.

Imagine this situation were an adult situation. Imagine it is your elderly loved one that passes out and hits their head on a cement floor. What will you do? What is your reaction likely to be? How well will you keep it together? Will you know the best way to care for them? Or perhaps a little bitty child has an asthma attack and there are no medical professionals in the area where you are. Will you know how to respond? Will you panic and get foggy minded, or will you have enough knowledge of what to do to remain calm and just do it without having to scrape together bits and pieces of remembered techniques?

We never know what accidents or incidents are waiting in our future. We don't get to choose what experiences are coming our way, so that means preparing for those exact things is really hard. So prepare your mind the way you prepare your pantry. Study emergency first aid. Study CPR. Keep your CPR training current, because those people change the guidelines of "how to" administer CPR all the time. Know about the common distresses that you might come in contact with and what the best methods of care are in just such a circumstance. And when you have done all you know to do,.....ask someone for other suggestions.

Remember that no matter how much you prepare, there is always something more you can do. FIND THAT and get to work preparing that much more. In the famous words of Tony Little,.... "You can DO IT!"

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