Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

A Full Bucket and a Tornado Disaster

Written by: on May 30, 2013

Five Strategies for Increasing Positive Emotions

This week I read, “How Full is Your Bucket” and spent a considerable amount of time in Moore, Oklahoma helping people whose homes were decimated by an F5 tornado that was 1.5miles wide and on the ground for 17 miles.

  I didn’t think my reading would lend itself to a disaster site, but I was wrong.

In the relative immediate aftermath of a disaster, people epitomize the five strategies in Rath and Clifton’s book.

1.     Prevent Bucket Dipping: As responders who enter into a disaster area, we know that many families have literally fought for their lives and now own nothing. We’re extra cautious to make sure we only bring positive thoughts and words to the families. The last thing we want to do is to add to their grief.

2.     Shine a Light on What’s Bright:  Virtually all the families we met were grateful to be alive. They could have sulked that they had lost their homes and cars, but they clung to the realization they hadn’t lost their lives. Being in such a situation shines a light on what really matters!

3.     Make Best Friends: The camaraderie and cohesion that develops within a disaster relief (DR) team is intense. You can go from not knowing sometime to virtually best friends when you spend all day working alongside someone and focusing on a meaningful goal.

4.     Give Unexpectedly: I can’t count the number of times people came up to us and asked if we needed gloves, shoes, water, beer, lunch or a variety of other things. We were eternally grateful to turn around and have these unexpected blessings.

5.     Reverse the Golden Rule: Responders go out of their way to treat people how they want to be treated, from moving furniture, to cutting trees to a variety of other things. Certainly that’s easier in this situation because we’re simply able to ask what their needs are and act accordingly!

Disasters don’t only create chaos. They often bring out the best in people (A full bucket, maybe?) and that’s something these authors are hoping for. 

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