How Can You Be A Lifebuoy In Times Of Crisis?

During this week after our President’s announcement in South Africa about how we as a country were going to manage the coronavirus pandemic, there was a lot of panic as schools were closed down nationally. I cannot ever remember that ever happening in my lifetime. I have a distant memory of schools closing for one day because of the heat back in my school days, but nothing like this has ever happened before.

Now in South Africa, with the little time that has passed since the President’s announcement, we have all had some time to understand the gravitas of the situation and very quickly, have experienced massive changes in our daily lives and in our businesses. Everyone is affected and life as we know it will never be the same again. Things have changed globally forever.

I have experienced several events in my life, where life as I knew it changed forever.

I was standing in a classroom in a school in Charlotte, North Carolina on September 11th 2001 teaching geometry when we got news that an American Airlines Boeing 767 loaded with 20,000 gallons of jet fuel crashed into the north tower of The World Trade Center. A total of 2 996 people were killed in the 9/11 attacks. Citizens of 78 countries died. We were all affected. Life, as I knew it, changed forever.

I was in Sri Lanka in 2004 when an earthquake with a magnitude of 9.1 struck beneath the Indian Ocean near Indonesia, generating a massive tsunami that claimed more than 230,000 lives in fourteen different countries. It was one of the deadliest natural disasters ever recorded. All that was left of the Peacock Hotel on the beach where I was staying, was one stone step. Locals I had met during my stay were killed; entire families were washed away. Life, as I knew it, changed forever.

There was another personal moment in my life on an October morning in 2003 after a quite some time of the ‘dark night of the soul’ when I took inspired action and my life changed forever. Life as I knew it, has never been the same.

Some crises that happened were out of my control and some others have been within my control; but the common experience is that they all have changed my life forever. I also know that when these events happen, we cannot go back to the way things were, even if we want to. These events change the world forever.

My question for myself and to you is; what approach will we take during these times?

Would it be possible for some businesses to keep employees and service providers on short-time? If not, could there be another way to offer help & support? If there was a creative ‘out-of-the-box’ solution that could help out a friend, family member, employer, employee, business owner or an acquaintance, what would that be?

  • Could we offer reduced rates?
  • Could we offer grace with rent?
  • Could we offer food parcels?
  • Could we shop for others?
  • Could we connect through a phone call?
  • Could we make a small donation?
  • Could we drop off urgent supplies?
  • Could big chain stores grant special offers on much-needed supplies?
  • Could we provide support to the elderly, homeless or individuals cut off without transport?

At the very least, we can take control of how we interact with each other. We could be even a little kinder than we normally are to anyone we may come into contact with. We are fragile beings, and sometimes all it takes to get through a tough time, is a kind and unexpected word or gesture from someone.  Everyone’s circumstances are different. We can be mindful of the fact that fear affects people in different ways. We can be more understanding and tolerant of each other and we can offer support where we are able to, while being dutiful and respectful of the restrictions and safety measures put in place.

I saw during the Tsunami and 911 that when we do something positive in times of crisis, it does make us feel calmer and more in control and it makes the world a better place. This is a time for humanity to shine and show the world what we are really made of!

My last thought ~~ Is there someone you can extend that lifebuoy out to today?

In Your Support!

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