This was a famous British propaganda poster during the Second World War. It has resurfaced in various forms over the past few years and has found its place in western popular culture. My cousin bought me a print of this poster a few years ago for Christmas and it has become one of my favorite collectables.
Yesterday, it became my motto when my region got hit with a stream of deadly tornados. Fortunately, my part of town was spared. Earlier in the afternoon, I was sent home from work early due to the coming storms. I picked my daughter up and immediately took her home and turned on the news. We didn’t even take off our shoes and I left the diaper bag intact incase we had to go to the basement. At this point, we were not sure which direction the storms were coming from out of Kentucky. We were at as much risk as anybody else.
When I think back to being a kid I remember that when I saw other people freak out, I did too. At 17 months, Sydney is a very perceptive child and picks up on others’ emotions quickly. I was scared and worried that these tornados would somehow find their way to our part of town. Still, I kept cool and played with my daughter like normal. I did not want anything to seem out of the ordinary for her. We played with her “Little People” and read four or five books. In a book that had a picture of God, she pointed to his picture and said “Ho Ho Ho.” Anyone with grey hair and a beard is Santa to her.
It was bittersweet when I learned that the storms were quickly making their way east of Cincinnati. I was relieved that they avoided our part of town completely, but sad for all of the people on the east side of the city who had their homes and lives destroyed.
The local news broadcasted the aftermath of the storm into primetime. Even TV shows were preempted for the coverage. It was the worst tornado this region has seen since 1999. I am a pretty emotional person myself but I was so happy that I was able to contain this emotion in front of my daughter.
I learned an important parenting lesson today that I am sure will apply in a lot of things in the future, not just natural disasters – “Keep Calm and Carry On.” Much like tornados, there are so many things as parents that we have little control over.