Dear Indiana Michigan Power/AEP:
Please receive this correspondence on behalf of those in the South Bend area still without power. We want to offer this letter as a token of our sincere appreciation for your diligence in rectifying the situation.
As of this writing, we are among those who have been without power since the thunderstorm of June 18. We first want to express to you our genuine understanding of your seeming unpreparedness for such an event. The thought of a combination of rain, wind, thunder and lightning in the month of June seems so...Southern Hemisphere. We were as shocked as you when Mother Nature threw springlike weather at us in this most peculiar time of year.
So that we'll both be prepared in the future, we've done a little research on weather patterns. The following are some other weather occurrences that we may encounter:
Turns out, severe storms can pop up all the way through May, June, July, August, even into September. I know - it's not fair. We were surprised to learn this as well. These storms could actually create a similar event in which power is knocked out.
In December, January and February, there exists the possibility of snowfall and ice. Again, don't shoot the messenger. These could also create the need to restore power if ice freezes and breaks lines and utility poles.
You get a break in the months of October, November, March and April. I would suggest implementing the necessary rate hikes then.
We write this letter because we understand your predicament and because we want to help. After all, if one of us was a day or so late paying a bill, we know you would exercise the same spirit of patience.
So again, keep up the good work. It is literally, lights out.
The Flashlight Few
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Note: This is my article for the June 10 edition of Moms Michiana, a section of the South Bend Tribune. It first appeared here.
My four-year old daughter is an avid reader. For the most part, I encourage this. I'm thrilled she reads a couple children's books before bed. I'm glad she can read directions to board games. I'm proud she can read her two-year old sister a story now and then.
I'm not as enthusiastic about her ability to read road signs.
Picture driving along Angela Boulevard on a beautiful spring afternoon. You glance over to catch a glimpse of the stadium, when from the backseat comes a shrill voice of warning: "Oh no, you're going the wrong way!" It's my four-year old, screaming with alarm because she believes the "Wrong Way" signs are meant for us.
I know full well I'm on the right side of the road. I've driven this road countless times. Yet, when you hear something so urgent, so assured, and so critical, you can't help but second guess yourself. I'll admit I tapped on the brakes for a bit.
She's done this more than once. My daughter is more than willing to point out poor execution at an intersection ("It said stop and you didn't stop!"), or act as a backseat speed radar (“It says, ‘Speed Limit four-five.’”).
Children offer little in the way of guidance while driving. In life, however, what they have to say can be very instructive. I wouldn’t listen to my daughter to get where I wanted to go in the car. I must listen to what she’s saying to get where I want to go as a father.
If you listen closely, what your children say offers a glimpse into the values and lessons you’re instilling in them as a parent. On one of our many trips down Angela, I told my daughter to look to see the painting of Jesus on the wall of the Hesburgh Library. “It’s not good to paint on walls,” was the reply. True enough. Glad that life lesson was internalized.
In other moments, I hear my daughter uttering things I’ve said in frustration that I would rather she’d forgotten. I’m sure most parents have experienced this. It serves as a humbling reminder that our children are watching us at every instance. What they will learn of patience, forgiveness, coping, and self-control is what we have modeled. However we respond to life’s problems is what they will know of responsible behavior.
I believe our words and actions also tell our children what we expect of them – sometimes implicitly, sometimes explicitly. We’ve had to be very direct in verbalizing our rule that our daughter confine her artistic expression to paper, not our walls. But when something goes wrong, or we get that unexpected phone call or expense, our children learn how to respond based on what they observe. We implicitly tell them what we expect of them by showing them what we expect of ourselves in those kinds of situations.
So in a sense, our children should be doing more of the driving than we think. Or at least, they are a sort of GPS device steering us in the right direction, if we listen. You’ll find incredible insight into your performance as a parent if you begin tuning in your children. It will rarely be as obvious as my daughter’s “Wrong Way” exclamation, but it will be more accurate.
There isn’t a journey more important than that of parenthood. There are no U-turns, no rest stops, no exits. If you’re like me, you look for reliable guidance wherever possible, because it’s important to know where you’re heading.
Especially if you’re going the wrong way.
You feel me?