Keep calm and carry on: Good advice for us all right now in our state of near-panic over Japan’s unfolding tragedy. I saw Professor George Scarlett of Tufts University’s famous Eliot-Pearson School of Child Development on TV this morning and he says that’s the ticket for us all now, especially as we relate to the children in our lives.
He gave some basic Dos and Don’ts: Don’t say “Oh that’s way over there,” thus downplaying the magnitude of the loss, and don’t fan the fears that such a cataclysm is due here too any minute. I especially see the wisdom of this last. Children are so tender; and if I’ve learned anything as a worker with youth all these years it’s that teens are too, with a world view still very much in the making.)
In sum he says to (a) model an appropriate behaviors of concern and compassion but also of optimism that all will be well; (b) use this as an opportunity to help them learn about the forces of nature world; and (c) model helping behaviors in any way that seems natural for your family, from donating money to simply praying of prayer can ever be called simple.
The worst thing I have seen people do and I’m sorry to say it’s older people who do it is to say “Oh the world is going to ruin. I’m glad I lived when I did!” If you feel that way I say go become a day trader or a mime or a toll taker at the edge of a bridge in the back end of nowhere, but please please please stay away from the young.
And now if you have the six minutes, click here for one of the world’s tenderest songs by a singer-songwriter I have loved through all her career, from the wild rebellious young redhead she was at the Michigan Women’s Festival in the early 80s to today when she is.. well, not so young, but still so strong in her heart. “Clean your house in troubled times” the words say and seek out those people who will wait for you when you are walking through your own private hell.
Seek good friends and clean your house. Stay calm and carry on.