This morning Simon and I find ourselves preparing to move out of our area due to another extreme fire danger day. The boy’s school has declared a pupil free day too, due the weather forecast and because the threat of fire in our area is high.
While the fires are still a safe distance, with the number of fatalities from ‘Black Saturday’ continuing to mount everyone is on high alert. The devastation of these fires over the last few weeks here in Victoria have been been extremely sobering for our family, as with many of yours, I am sure.
Until now I have been mostly naive about fire threats. However we now live in a community that 20 years ago was burnt to the ground with the Ash Wednesday fires and our current home is a post-fire rebuild. Twice this week we have packed up our trailer with essential items in case these fires change direction and we need to make a quick exit.
With small children, most parents are probably trying to shield their little-ones (to some degree) from the building anxiety felt within the community. With all of the ‘fire-talk’ in the area however this can be tricky. Not to mention experts declaring this to be Australia’s greatest natural disaster we have seen for a number of decades.
How can you communicate the reality of natural disasters without being too ‘alarmist’?
I am not going to pretend to know the answer to this question, however we have used this fire threat as a way of communicating the following concepts with the boys:
-the uncertainty of life in regards to natural disasters, death in general etc
-living life to the full, no regrets,
-living life with gratitude.
So the other night as we made cupcakes for Quin’s birthday (to take to preschool) we talked about how fires are one of the dangers we face by living in such a beautiful country. With the hysterics and mayhem of three small children baking together, we found our conversation flowed easily without ‘added’ tension.
Children are beautiful, sensitive creatures.
We would be foolish to think that they cannot grasp these concepts.
So create the ‘opportunity’ and allow our little ones the time to express their thoughts and feeling.
My thoughts and love are with all of those who have experienced loss during this fire period and and my prayers are with all of those who are ‘still’ in fire threat.
God bless and stay safe.