How Do You React?

The other day I had recess duty at my daughter’s school with a dad, who is so incredibly levelheaded, I often wonder, what if anything, could ever make him lose it.

We’ve had recess duty together on multiple occasions and I’ve spoken to him at a few school events, so I know his cool as a cucumber persona is 100 authentic.

Given this, I suppose I should not have been the least bit surprised at the dad’s reaction when we both witnessed a scary incident on the playground a couple of weeks ago.

Some rule-breaking third grader got it in his head that the top of the monkey bars would be the perfect place for him to make like Mary Lou Retton. Unfortunately, the kid performed more like Bozo the Clown and ended up falling.

While I let out an audible gasp and ran like a hunted gazelle toward the kid, who face planted in a sea of wood chips, Mr. Cool strolled up at a leisurely pace and asked the boy if he could get up and walk to the end of the slide.

He might have said a few other things to the bloody-nosed kid, but I was too busy calling 9-1-1 to overhear the entire exchange.

By the way, I was calling emergency responders to tend to me and my heart attack, not the boy, who, fortunately, didn’t suffer any major injuries, save for the bloody nose a couple scratches to his face.

Okay, I didn’t really call 9-1-1, but I did send another student to the main office for a first aid kit… for the boy, not me.

If it had been my daughter face planting into a pile of wood chips I likely would have fainted on the spot or screamed hysterically, or maybe, I would have responded as calmly as Cool Dad.

Meh, probably not.

Still, having a calming presence around during a chaotic moment is beneficial. In fact, I think being around Mr. Cool is beginning to rub off on me. The other day my daughter got hit in the head with a leather bullet ball. While she shrieked like a wounded harpy eagle, I kept my voice clear and calm and managed to stay in control. After all, being overwrought and hysterical wasn’t going to make her pain go away.

I hope I can remain as calm the next time something terrible happens. We’ll see; because truthfully, my tranquil demeanor during the bullet ball incident was more a result of numbness than steely composure.

How do you react in emergency situations?

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.