Catastrophe: 5 Ways to role model being the eye of the storm for others

The 2017 hurricane season has been devastating.  It has been one of the most historical on record for the amount of hurricanes, strengths of the storms and damage done.  It truly has been one for the books.  Out of these incredibly sad and devastating storms has come one truth that we all knew was truth; as powerful as humans think we are, weather always wins.  Another truth that I have watched from afar has been that even with these awful and catastrophic storms, there is always an eye of the storm.  The place  of calm.  The place where the winds are light, the skies are blue and peace still happens.  I’ve been thinking for weeks now about how important it is, amid the chaos, to have the eye of the storm in all of our work places.

I ask you, who is the ‘eye of the storm’ in your organization?  Is it you?  Is it a colleague?  Is it your boss?  Every successful organization needs a eye of the storm.  If all of your employees were consistently ‘in turmoil’, your organizational health would get an F for a grade.  As I watch the first responders and heroes respond to everything going on around them in such a calm ‘eye of the storm’ way, I have read some ways in which first responders prepare themselves.  While the list may seem simple, it made me think about our work as teachers and summer camp professionals as we can be the greatest role models for the kids around us.

Of course, the crisis we deal with at schools and camps may not be as life or death as a hurricane, however, whatever it may be, preparing yourself for the face of adversity can make a difference for the way you respond in front of kids.  Here are some big takeaways I have gotten from watching these true calm, cool and collected role models.

  1. Their non-verbal/body language is calm and consistent:  These folks rarely look ‘shook’, as my high school kids would say.  They have an affect that exudes confidence.  They may be quaking like an aspen leaf on the inside, but on the outside they are rock solid role models for the victims around them.
  2. Action: Rarely do you see the news and see this folks just sitting around.  They are constantly ‘doing’.  Whether it be serving meals or in the heart of rescue, their simple ‘actions speak louder than words’ persona takes over.
  3. One foot in front of the other: This one comes from training.  They know they can’t move a mountain, but they can move some pebbles and rocks as they eventually move the mountain over time.  Their seemingly small acts add up to a large act over time.
  4. Having a plan: They are prepared for the worst case scenario.  They anticipate what can happen and they expect the unexpected.  It allows them not to be caught off guard and they are prepared for anything that may come their way.  As a result of this, they are rarely REACTING.  They are RESPONDING and there is a huge difference.
  5. Teamwork: This seems pretty obvious and it’s so important.  You need multiple eyes to the storm.  You need many leaders and ‘go to’ role models when crisis strikes.  Do you have a ‘crisis team’ at your school or camp?  Do you have multiple people that can be the foundation when all may seem to crumbling around you?  Putting this pressure on one person can be too much.  A team of folks can be much more helpful.

As we all know, kids respond the way we respond as adults.  If crisis hits and we are an emotional wreck our kids will be also.  If crisis hits and we are prepared, we can still be emotional, however, we will give our kids the role modeling they need to have a healthy response to tough situations.


Steve Maguire, M.Ed is a professional speaker, author, professional staff trainer and Dad.  He specializes in working with schools and summer camps with such topics as positive organizational health, joy in the workplace and leadership.  To find out more about him, go to his website.


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