Storm Etiquette

How Civility Can Calm Troubled Waters

Hurricane Sandy taught us, once again, that we Earth beings of all species have little defense against the forces of nature when they turn against us.  All along the Eastern Seaboard, Hurricane / Cyclone / Storm Sandy wreaked horrific destruction and death the weekend before Halloween.  This followed a tsunami in the Pacific and an earthquake in Los Angeles.

But, Superstorm Sandy left the most damage in her wake.  Some lost their loved ones and many more suffered damage to their homes and possessions or lost them altogether, and thousands more lost power and many are still coping with, extended outages.  And, now to add to the agony are long gas lines and a temporary gas shortage due to a delay in ships being allowed to enter New York Harbor.

It is in such times of strife that random acts of kindness can bring comfort to those who are stricken with grief, loss and despair as well as fear, frustration and extended inconvenience and discomfort.  These are truly times in which practicing good manners and consideration for others demonstrates the healing and calming powers of civility.

“I believe in the kindness of others again,” said social worker Mark Horowitz, in this Time Newsfeed article.

Kindness is making inroads in the aftermath of Sandy’s devastation.  While FEMA and local governments work feverishly to restore areas hit hard and help people to begin to rebuild their homes and their lives, it is the acts of kindness and consideration – the very core of manners and etiquette – of people that is making immediate improvements in the lives of those hurt by Sandy’s force.

As the images of Sandy’s horror emerge, we also see images of civility, compassion, thoughtfulness and consideration.

As Americans once again come together in a time of crisis, here are some acts of kindness and civility we can all do to help:

  • Donate blood.  Click here to find how and where to donate blood.
  • Donate money.  You can make a donation to the American Red Cross for Sandy relief at this site,  to Habitat for Humanity at this site, and to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to help pets and other animals affected by Sandy at this site.  Or you can support a local relief effort in your area.  Be sure you know the organization or charity you are supporting with your funds, because along with those who are helping there are those who are scamming.
  • Donate your services and time.  You can help established organizations, such as The Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity, or a local community group in your area
  • Provide assistance in your neighborhood.  Helping those nearby by donating food, clothing, shelter, power to charge cell phones, babysitting services and assistance to the elderly and disabled.
  • Be kind and patient.  Spreading calm and civility to those around you, to  your family, neighbors, friends, coworkers and all those who are working hard to provide services, assistance and relief to victims will help enormously.
  • Be thankful.  Show gratitude to those who help you, whether it’s rebuilding or repairing your home, providing assistance in straightening out your insurance issues, making a meal for you and your family, restoring your power, cleaning up your property, watching your children and pets or performing any act of kindness that helps you on any level.

We will get through this disaster together.  And, as we gradually return to normal, let’s resolve to keep this spirit of kindness, civility, patience and understanding as part of our everyday lives.

My family was fortunate to have escaped with only a 10-day power outage.  We wish everyone who suffered losses, damage or inconvenience during Sandy’s rampage a speedy recovery.  We know it will be painful for many, and our hope is that with everyone pulling together and helping in small and large ways, all lives will be restored to some level of normalcy as soon as possible.

Until next time,


P.S.  My weekly post for October 31stwas cancelled due to Superstorm Sandy’s knocking out our power and my having to attend to other urgent matters in the wake of the storm.  The post was to address Halloween etiquette, and will be posted at a later date next year.

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