We’re Not in Kansas Anymore, Toto! by Heather Bowles
Good Saturday morning, ladies! I hope all is well in your corner of the world today.
As I’m sure you are aware, all is not well here in the Heartland. Oklahoma has suffered serious devastation at Mother Nature’s hands in the last two weeks, and we may not be done taking the abuse for another two weeks if seasonal trends prevail. Springtime in Oklahoma has always brought severe weather, and I generally do not fear simple thunderstorms, but the frequency of truly ruinous weather, the kind that destroys homes and lives, appears to be on the upswing all over this country. My awareness of the suffering of the children affected in the wake of these disasters gives me a sense of gratitude for my family’s own luck and a bit of guilt in avoiding the loss of our home, belongings, and lives.
Even more than adults, children require routine and predictable daily outcomes to feel safe and be happy. I think it is safe to say that this is what every parent wants most for their children, yet so many in Oklahoma City and the surrounding suburbs do not have it this morning. Some have not had it in well over a week. Not only do the ongoing circumstances in Moore, El Reno, Broken Arrow and Union City contribute to a continuous sense of fear of the unknown in children, but extending the lack of a sense of safety over a period of weeks can cause permanent changes in the brain chemistry of very young people, the kind which inhibits learning, and cripples the development of higher thinking skills in the very young.
Children should be assured of a safe learning environment, but as our global climate changes and storms here in Tornado Alley become stronger as a result, the likelihood of severe damage to places of learning increases, and it is increasing faster than our local budgets can often contain. As such, I come to you today not for myself or my own child as I usually do, but for children all over the state to ask only this: Will you donate even a small sum so that children can feel safe in currently standing institutions of learning? If you can find it in your heart to donate as little as $25, you will contribute to the future of hundreds of future teachers, scientists, mathematicians and historians by helping to build storm safe shelters in existing schools. Who knows what they might accomplish? And what will they say of us to their own children? I can only hope history is kinder to us than the present day’s weather has been to them. Many thanks for your consideration, ladies, and enjoy your weekend!
To contribute to the safety of Oklahoma’s school age children, go to the Shelter Oklahoma Schools Fund.