Types of Adversity
When was the last time you experienced adversity?
We all experience those times in life that we wish weren't there, the times when we are brought down to our knees because we don't know what to do or where to turn, the times when our strength is sapped and our efforts seem to have been in vain. Life has a way of letting us know at these times that our families are the most important, and that this life is not all there is. Indeed, it is through adversity that we learn the greatest lessons of all!
Adversity has many names, including opposition, difficulty, frustration, and stress.— The Emotional Survival Handbook
There are many sources of adversity, including natural disasters, the choices and actions of others, accidents and illness, genetic inheritance and predisposition, and most importantly, our own choices and actions.
Each of these is discussed below, along with a preparation tip to help us be more ready when the time comes to deal with this particular type of adversity.
72 Hour Emergency Kits are the best tool to have in preparation for a natural disaster. They can be carried by an individual and grabbed at a moment's notice. The steps to make them are as follows:
- Get a school size back-pack for each member of the family
- Put in a change of clothing, including underclothes, socks, pants, and shirt
- Add drinking water
- Fill zip lock bags with personal toiletries, a roll of toilet paper, and medications
- Include a towel and washcloth
- Finish with food, water, and utensils sufficient for three days, such as granola bars, dried fruit, nuts, and prepared meals that can be eaten directly from the container.
Natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and tidal waves usually come unexpectedly and destroy everything in their path. We may be required to leave our homes at a moment's notice, with no time to prepare for our personal needs. We may loose nothing, or we may loose everything. The uncertainty can be a great source of adversity.
We would do well to become familiar with the history and geography of the area in which we live. Each area has cyclical events that happen on a regular basis. Having an emergency plan for evacuation according to the type of disaster may mean the difference between life and death.
The 72 Hour Emergency Kit is made for this type of occasion. Making one for each member of the family is a great way to be prepared. We can grab it and go, no matter what is happening, and we have our needs met until we know where we are going and how things will be resolved.
For those of us that are technology buffs, we can get an external hard drive for our computer and back up our vital documents and records onto the drive. We can keep it in our emergency pack, and should we have to leave in a hurry, photos, letters, journals, and household vital information go where we go.
Keeping a printed list of all accounts, titles, insurance policies, and companies with which we do business in our emergency packs is a great idea as well. That way, although the original documents may be swept away in the flood, we still have the vital information we need to get our lives back in order. Update emergency kits, lists of accounts, and vital information regularly.
The Choices of Others
Have an emergency protocol for family members. Make sure all members know their:
- phone number
- local emergency number
- emergency contact outside of the immediate family
- family code word to use if someone else needs to deliver emergency information
- alternative place to meet if the home is not available
- alternate route home if regular route is blocked
- family member's medical conditions, if needed
With the current national climate of unrest, it is possible that we will be involved with events in our lifetime or the lifetime of our children that will have a dramatic affect on our lives. We can become fearful and wary and lock ourselves inside our homes, but that would leave us unhappy and miserable.
Awareness of what is happening on a local and national level can help us, but there is really no way to prepare for these types of happenings. School shootings, violence in our communities, and terrorist attacks will happen. If someone breaks into our home, spreads bad rumors about us, starts a fire on our property, or hurts one of our children, that is also adversity brought on by the actions of someone else. No one is immune to this type of adversity, and it may be closer to our homes than we realize.
Our best defense is to teach our families how to be good people. As we do so, we are surrounding ourselves with a barrier of protection. Should something happen to us or a member of our family, we have a place to go where we can feel safe. When bad things happen as a result of the choices that other people have made, we can be a resource for strength and healing to those around us. We can open our home to victims, help with cleanup efforts, and share our family's resources.
Accidents and Illness
Teach family members common first aid principles:
- Apply pressure and elevate a limb that is bleeding
- If someone is not breathing, use mouth to mouth resusitation
- Contact Poison Control if poisoning is suspected
- Have CPR training if caring for small children
- Call 911 if emergency personnel are needed
Teach care for those with colds or flu:
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Get extra rest
- Stay warm
- Treat symptoms with over the counter medications
- See a doctor if illness includes high fever, excessive vomiting or diarrhea
Accidents can happen anytime and anywhere. We may be on the way home from a short trip to the grocery store, and end up with a semi on top of us. Our children may be playing with a friend when a glass is dropped and someone's foot is slashed open.
There will be times in our lives when we feel that we spend more time in the emergency room than in our own homes, especially when our children are young. Attendance at day cares and schools increases the chances that they will pick up a virus or bug of some kind or another.
No matter what we do, we are subject to the conditions of this mortal world. We deal with the unexpected on a regular basis, and in doing so, need to be patient and flexible. We can plan and prepare, and it will go a long way to preventing, but will not cover every situation in every moment. As we take the time to teach emergency first aid and health care to family members, someone's life could be spared, including our own!
Genetic Abnormalities and Predispositions
The following steps can help identify and treat genetic abnormalities and predispositions in a timely way:
- Follow recommended checkups beginning at birth
- See that children are properly immunized
- Use recommended dietary guidelines for good health
- Check with a doctor if growth and development are delayed
- Take advantage of free health clinics and screenings
- Find out family health history of parents and grandparents
- Get screened for high risk health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer
- Live a lifestyle free of addictions
- Eat a variety of high quality foods
- Stay physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually active, all through the aging process
Our physical bodies are a culmination of generations of ancestors who have gone before us. We inherit a complex organization of DNA that manifests itself according to the environment in which we live and the choices that we make. Disabilities come in many forms and are caused by any number of factors coming together at a given moment.
Physical and mental illnesses are a form of great adversity to many. Because we can affect our health by the choices we make, it is easy to look at someone with health issues and say that he or she should have done this or that, and it could have been avoided.
In reality, life is a sum total of many factors. We should not judge anyone who may be experiencing these things, and think for a moment that we are immune. Illness can come at any time, for any reason, and once it does, we simply need to do our best to learn from it and deal with it. Our ability to recognize symptoms and signs when they are happening can mean the difference between life and death.
Our Own Choices and Actions
Decide now to do the following:
- Get up with alarm
- Go to bed early
- Work hard
- Keep mouth shut when angry
- Be nice, even when others aren't
- Live in the moment
- Write a list
- Do what is right
- Pay with cash
- Spend time with family
One source of adversity is ourselves. Not just the choices we make, but the weaknesses and imperfections we develop over time that limit our effectiveness. Life is a series of lessons. The sooner we learn them, the sooner we will find happiness.
Our choices determine what we do with the resources we have been given. Each of these resources can be squandered, conserved, or invested. If we are weak in one area, most likely other areas will be affected. Making decisions ahead of time leaves us with the ability to choose more wisely in the moment.
The most important thing that we can do when adversity comes into our lives, is to turn to the one being that knows all, God, our Heavenly Father. He knows what we have experienced and wants to help us. Our choice to turn to him may mean the difference between life and death, both figuratively and literally. Just like Casting Crowns sings, we can Praise Him in the Storm.
© 2011 Denise W Anderson