Saturday, January 15, 2011

Tornado Cleanup

I began my accounting education at a small liberal arts school in the Midwest.  The tenured professors taught straight from the textbooks and those books were gospel.  I'm not saying there was anything wrong with the material we learned, only that we were dealing with theory.  Two years later I transferred to a business college near Detroit.  The people who taught our classes were not professors, but business men and women contracted to teach a specific class.  My marketing teaching had been the director of marketing for General Motors.  My tax instructor was a consultant for the government during the Savings & Loan crisis.  My accounting teachers either worked for the big three automakers or were CPA's.  They would teach us theory from the book, but always qualify it with "Here's what we do in the real world."  Their practical experience made all the difference in the world to me.

Why do I bring this up?  We have made a conscious effort to make sure Schnickelfritz receives a Biblical education--we read and discuss a chapter of the Bible to begin each school day,  he sings and learns about God's love at Sunday School and Royal Rangers.  We prayed for the victims of the tornadoes that tore through our state on New Year's Eve.  That was all just theory.   As a parent, I need to make sure Fritz has practical experience acting as God's hands and feet.  A town just south of us put out the call for help today with cleaning up.  The church and many homes were damaged and destroyed.  The trees looked like cotton candy with pink insulation coating the branches.  Toolman joined the chainsaw gang bringing down broken trees and cutting them into manageable chunks.  Fritz and I couldn't run chainsaws or lift large pieces of twisted metal, but we could grab a trash bag and pick up debris or pile up broken branches for a bonfire. 

There were probably 50 or so volunteers, mostly men.  Fritz was the one of two kids and the youngest.  We spent two hours just helping one women pick up  insulation from her snowy yard and knocking it out of the trees.  She has no insurance.  Her neighbor's trailer had lost its roof and part of the front wall and yet there were still books lining the bookshelf in the exposed living room.    We puposely did not take Fritz to see the damage right after the event when there might have been a lot of confused and distraught people around.  By this time people were over their initial shock and grief and were focusing on getting this as close to "back to normal" as possible.  This was not an exercise respecting the power of the storm, but in seeing the good that can be accomplished when neighbors extend a helping hand to one another.

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