Friday, February 11, 2011

Weather warnings

“…be quick to listen” –James 1:19

Extreme weather can be bad, but weather warnings are good. I’ve often wondered what it must have been like 100 years ago when storms just showed up with no Weather Channel updates. Scary. Our kids give us forecasts and warnings as well. If we watch their “channel” and listen, they often give us fair warning to approaching storms.

Nearly 20 years ago, we were in my hometown of Fort Worth and had just had a wonderful holiday vacation with my parents. We were scheduled to leave the day after Christmas to drive back to Branson through Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Then came the announcement: WINTER WEATHER WARNING- HEAVY ICE AND SNOW EXPECTED THROUGH OKLAHOMA. They had predicted winter weather beginning the afternoon we were leaving, so we left early to get home “ahead of the storm.” As we journeyed toward Oklahoma, the storm began early and when we reached Tulsa 8 hours later (typically a 4 hour drive), we were exhausted but safe. We spent the night in the Holiday Inn and, by God’s grace, made it back to Branson late the next day. We had driven on ice for almost 15 hours. We collapsed in the house, joined hands and thanked the Lord for watching over us. It was a crazy experience.

But here’s the deal. The “crazy experience” didn't have to happen. We could have waited a few days to drive in safer conditions. Had I heeded the warning and relaxed, sure we would have been off schedule, but we also would have been safe and warm with my parents in Fort Worth.

Yesterday, Jeanie and I planned to drive to Amarillo from Branson to be with Elizabeth, our daughter, Mark, our son-in-law, and Reese our 10 month old grandbaby (definitely not in that order. Just kidding, Elizabeth and Mark). Over the weekend came the announcement: WINTER WEATHER WARNING- HEAVY SNOW EXPECTED THROUGH OKLAHOMA. Sound familiar? My first thought was, “oh, we can do this. I have 4-wheel drive.” My second thought was, “Staples, you’re an idiot.” Jeanie and I discussed it and we’re planning on going next week. Perhaps I learned to heed the warning and yield.

When our kids are overly frustrated or angry for a length of time, recognize the symptoms. Remember that depression in kids and teens is usually expressed through anger. Have your sensitivity radar up and running with your kids so that when there is potential for stormy weather, you can be prepared.

The A-number one most important factor in reading the forecast of your kids is time. Good old-fashioned time. When you’re with your kids, eating meals, helping with homework and picking up after a game, you are tuning into the right channel. Text messaging and Facebook don't cut it. That’s like trying to find the weather forecast watching ESPN. It’s not there. Our kids will only give us the forecast if they trust us, and that trust is built through time together. Sure, most of us have to go to work, but kids understood that too. Just give them the time you can and they know if you’d like to be giving them more.

Knowing a storm is coming doesn't stop the storm, but it does help us prepare for one. When we’re in the right mind, we can be a better source of encouragement for our teen’s when the storm arrives. When we’re “prayed up,” we can more easily be used to help our kid’s weather the storm.

Be a weatherman. Listen. Watch the gauges. Test the wind. Look to the sky.

Then, when the storm begins, you’ll be there, ready to help.

By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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