The massive storm and colossal damage inflicted by Hurricane Sandy caused major devastation for many. Yet, despite the pounding that so many experienced, the outpouring of help I read about was admirable, illustrating the importance of standing up in the face of adversity and supporting one another. The media did such an incredible job of depicting the rarely seen humanity of neighbors helping fellow neighbors. The also showed the lineups post-Sandy for pay phones as she cut all power, rendering cell phones useless for many.
This got me thinking about the many life events that, if not prepared for, could wreak havoc in our lives. What if there was a disaster -- what would happen to our children? Who would be responsible for a rescue plan-- me or their father? What if one of us became seriously ill, who would take care of our children? What about eldercare -- if one of us co-parents suddenly had to take care of our parents for a short time and couldn't focus on our children, who would? The list of "what ifs" became dizzying, as I began to think about the various scenarios that could cause colossal damage to our family life.
A disaster preparedness plan is something people don't talk about; it's something we probably don't even think about. But there are lessons to be learned from this disaster. As a divorce coach, my role is to guide people to positive outcomes for a happier, healthier future. So I'm going to suggest to all of my coaching clients that they think of a "what if" plan in case of an emergency -- a contingency plan for themselves and their children's mental and physical health and well-being.
Having a plan will ensure that parents know who is responsible for what. Think about:
- Who is going to be responsible for the children when calamity strikes if you are in the middle of other commitments.
- A communication back up plan you can rely on.
- "What if" scenarios and back-up plans in your parenting arrangement. Don't wait to make a plan when crisis strikes, do it before; it's like an insurance plan. You hope you never need it, but it's there just in case. Make decisions when you are calm and can think straight, rather than when disaster strikes and you are panicked and can't think
Hurricane Sandy was nasty and caused long term and permanent damage. We could look at this storm metaphorically as a high conflict divorce. The storm represents the conflict between parents, and the devastation that results is inflicted upon the children, who might not come out unscathed. Perhaps this is the underlying message, that parents need to get along, co-parent and work through the storm and destruction together.
Forward thinking and having a plan will go a long way.
I wrote this article in response to a question posted by The Huffington Post: "Do you think Hurricane Sandy emphasizes the need for a disaster-preparedness plan between co-parents?" I shared my thoughts, now would love to hear yours.
Deborah Moskovitch is a Divorce Coach and founder of The Smart Divorce -- providing cost effective resources and powerful educational tools to empower and free people during this difficult time. To learn more, visit Deborah on the web at: