This week marked another first experience in our family. On Wednesday, in the middle of getting ready for our Wednesday night student service, our little girl had her first accident. She ended up hitting her head pretty hard on our driveway. I got the call that no dad wants to receive from a frantic wife telling me to get home. As I pulled up I knew that I would have to take the lead and keep our family focused as we navigated through this. I should be a pro at this right? I deal with teenagers all the time. I have made numerous trips to the hospital on youth trips. The only difference was this was my child now.
Here are some tips I have learned over the years to help you get through an emergency situation.
- Keep your cool: Nothing is worse in an emergency situation than somebody who is not thinking straight. Take charge of your emotions and thoughts, and choose to be calm and collected. My wife did a great job of this with our daughter yesterday. As she picked her up off the driveway, she didn’t gasp or freak out. She just looked at her and said “uh oh”. What’s funny is our daughter who goes ballistic during shots, barely even cried after hitting her head. I believe much of it had to do with the fact that both my wife and I kept a level head and remained calm. She took her cue on how to respond from her parents.
- Look for the humor: One of the best medicines is laughter. It is amazing how laughter can change the mood of a situation very quickly. As we were on our way to the doctor, we spent a lot of time laughing. Look for humor and find ways to laugh during emergency situations. It keeps your mind off the negative thoughts, and can easily promote positivity.
- Think about the future: It’s easy in emergency situations to think doom and gloom. Thoughts like, “will everything be ok”, “will there be permanent damage”, “will I ever be better” all cross our minds. The challenge is to think about the future and talk about what you will do when you get home. This gets your mind off the immediate situations and get you thinking about the hope and opportunities in the future. I remember Carmen and I talking about what we were going to do when we got home that night, even making plans for the next day. Not because we were naive to what was going on, but we wanted to keep positive thoughts in our heads to remind ourselves that this too will soon pass, and everything will be ok.
- Give God the credit in the end: One of the first things I did yesterday after we got home was to email our staff and tell them how God protected our daughter and kept her safe. I wanted to make sure that no one but God got the credit. Why? Because it will remind me next time that God is always in control even if the circumstances are not what I like.
I hope these tips help you and your family next time you are faced with an emergency situation. Remember our kids are watching us, and they will take their cues for how to navigate emergency situations from us. Let’s set an example of how to positively make it through emergency situations.