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There is nothing like a storm to bring out the best and worst in people.

I live in the Dallas metroplex. Tuesday our area was hit with 12 confirmed tornadoes.  The weather set in at the worst possible time too–right as schools and daycares were ready to release. Frantic does not begin to describe the feeling.

I went to my son’s preschool 20 minutes early, grabbed him, and headed to my older two’s elementary school where we stayed in lockdown mode for the next couple of hours. The parents and toddlers were in one room, and the schoolmates were in a separate area of the building.

First off, kudos to the staff at the elementary school. They handled the pressure like rock stars, and I was highly HIGHLY impressed. Some of the parents, however… wow.

I have lived in Texas all my life. Every area of the world has some form of natural disaster that they have to deal with. Hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, something. Growing up in Tornado Alley, I have seen my fair share of devastation. I have watched wall clouds form. I have heard the locomotive sound of an approaching tornado. I have seen the funnels and ripped roofs. I have helped with cleanup. I get it. I really, really do.

What I don’t get is how people react.

Fear is ok. Fear is understandable even. But desperation is another thing all together. I wanted to see my kiddos and have them in my arms as much as any other mom there, but I wasn’t screaming about it. I had faith that these administrators had their best interest at heart. They were receiving the weather updates. They knew the construction of the school.

At some points I think the drama inside the building was worse than the tornadoes outside it.

I think storms like that bring out people’s real personality. In that building we had:

  • Fixers: They were doing everything they could to keep the preschoolers and babies entertained.
  • Complainers: These parents were fussing about it being too hot, too cold, or about how much they needed to leave despite a tornado being on the ground 15 minutes away from or location.
  • Bench warmers: They sat quietly and minded their own business through the whole ordeal.
  • Reporters: They were announcing everything they heard and saw be it real or not. Some were alarmists and some were really trying to keep people informed.

Interestingly enough, a few years ago I was a fixer. I would have been doing everything I could to keep everyone happy and comfortable. I guess that comes from being a former pastor’s wife. But over the last year or so, I have given myself permission to let it go and not fret (as much) over what I can’t control. I was perfectly happy being a bench warmer. I felt confident in the school’s ability to keep my kids safe, and I trusted that we were exactly where we needed to be. I was even ok with my husband being locked inside a glass-enclosed airport.

Truth be known, we have no control over the storms whether they are tornadoes outside or trials in life in general. It took me 35 years to accept that, but I’m closer now than I ever have been.

And that feels good.

Where would you fit into these personality types? Has your personality changed, or have you been steadily in that category all your life?

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