This past week Maine was hit with a powerful storm that left us powerless! It knocked out power to over 1,500,000 homes and businesses. We were caught off guard by its magnitude. The drought we’d experienced this summer weakened the roots of many trees that were still heavy with foliage and as a result thousands of trees were toppled, taking utility poles and wires down with them.
Schools across the state were shut down anywhere from a day to a week. We are a rural state, so many were also without water since well pumps rely on electricity. For many of our students school was the only warm, lit place with food and water. Many of us teachers found our schools a place to clean up, charge electronics, and commiserate with one another.
As difficult as these days were, many of us found an incredible silver lining. In a time when discourse and interactions have been so polarized, we saw an incredible coalescing of community. Those with power opened their homes to others for a place to shower or get a warm meal. Schools opened showers to community members and offered charging stations for devices to keep people connected. Restaurants and stores provided free warm meals to anyone in need. Words of encouragement and support sprouted up on social media. People expressed happiness for others as they celebrated the return of power, even though they may have been in the dark themselves.
In a 5th grade I was working in this week I asked the students to quickwrite a response to the statement The storm was actually a good thing. Nearly every response refuted the statement until we shared and reflected. At that point, many students began to share some wonderful moments they had with their family or friends. “Well, actually it WAS good because we got to go to my memere’s. and Oh, yeah…we got to go out to eat, that was fun! and We got to read with flashlights.” Many also talked about how happy they were when the power came back on, and that felt really good.
Empathy. Appreciation. Community. These were gifts that the storm left in its wake. I hope that in this season of giving thanks that we will continue to hold onto these. We can nudge our children to think beyond the frustration of events, to contemplate the gifts or lessons that every experience offers us. We’ve got that power.
What’s On My Book Radar?
THE PECULIAR INCIDENT ON SHADY STREET by Lindsay Currie
The perfect way to cap off my Halloween, reading a chilling ghost story. Weaving modern day tween troubles with the macabre mystery of a returning ghost of a long dead child, Lindsay Currie has created a creepy, yet empathetic story kids will love. Tessa Woodward moves with her family from Florida to Chicago when unexplainable things start happening in her new house: drawings appear, her brother’s doll begins crying, and things are disappearing. With the help of three new friends they embark on a quest to solve the mystery of what happened in her house on Shady Street many, many years ago in hopes that some normalcy can return to their lives.