THE PIKE RIVER MINE DISASTER
"At least 10 children have fathers trapped in the Pike River coal mine - . . . . More than 10 others go anxiously through their primary school routines while their fathers prepare to enter the burning, gassy, potentially explosive mine to rescue their mates, trapped underground since the explosion on Friday afternoon. . . . .
At local schools, all appears normal, at least at a distance. But on a closer look, everyone is affected.
A 13-year-old girl said her brother was friends with the young trapped miner, Joseph Dunbar, 17. Her friend has an uncle stuck underground. She is chatty, cheery and seemingly in good spirits - but that is not the full story.
'You have to keep strong for everyone,' she said, and for a moment the gravity of the situation flashed across her face. . . .
Grey Main Primary School principal Mandy O'Sullivan said 12 Pike River miners had children at her school, though none were trapped.
Ten others are part of Mines Rescue, ready to enter the hazardous mine when conditions clear. . . .
'At this stage, the students have been exceptionally brave in a time of uncertainty,' Ms O'Sullivan said.
The children had been reassured and encouraged to talk honestly about the situation, and they had not been overdramatic, she said. '[But] they're anxious like the rest of us, really.'
It was important that parents sent their children to school and made sure they had consistency, she said.
Many parents kept their children home on Monday, but most turned up yesterday. . .
'We feel it's important to keep routines as normal as possible.' "
THE NEW ZEALAND HERALD Wednesday 24 2010. Children Still to Realize Miners' Plight : Michael Dickison
The tragic sadness of the Pike River mine disaster over this past week here in New Zealand, has been another reminder of REAL life, with its wide gamut of experiences - emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually.
Of course this mine disaster is at one extreme of life experiences. None-the-less it does throw out a challenge to us as parents to question ourselves as to if we bring our children into contact with the extremes that life can have. Or are we only working at keeping things 'tidy' and comfortable?
This past week I have been asking myself - how would my children today, deal with the loss of a father, a brother or close loved-one?
Pike River coal chief executive, Peter Whittall and police superintendent Gary Knowles, have been examples of strength of character to marvel at. In all world catastrophes throughout time, we have known similar calibre. But would my children - even as adults, be amongst that group of 'resilient' people?
How do we as parents, 'build' these aspects into our children's character?
Maybe there is help in thinking on the comments that we have heard many times in the last days on our TV news programs. Many people on "the Coast" when asked how they will cope, have talked of the region's 'resilience', that has come from living and working through previous trials and difficulties of the past. Possibly this is a clue, a help, a question for us as parents to think on. Are we allowing the natural smaller difficulties of life that come our way, especially come our children's way, to be a positive practice ground for their future?
I'd love your thoughts and ideas here.
What do you think?
How can we in practical terms equip our children to 'do well' in a huge, life-changing tragedy?