JUNE begins the summer months where sun and fun are the operative words. June is also the beginning of the hurricane season where information and preparation are critical. It is important that we all adhere to the warnings and alerts during this time of year to ensure that our families are safe. Be sure to check out the city’s web page for tips on how to be hurricane ready. There was an article in the Herald Tribune that warns of the cost of not encountering a hurricane over the past six years. It reads as such: “Six hurricanefree years have given Florida a welcome break from disaster, but government leaders fear that the public may have become a little too comfortable.”
Here are the longest periods since 1900 between strikes by a major hurricane (Category 3 or higher). Months indicate when major hurricanes struck before and after each lull:
6 years - Oct. 2005 to present
5 years - Sept. 1900 to Sept. 1906
5 years - Oct. 1909 to Aug. 1915
4 years - Aug 1999 to Aug. 2004
4 years - Oct. 1921 to Aug. 1926
3 years - Aug. 1970 to Sept. 1974
3 years - Sept. 1985 to Sept. 1989
3 years - Sept. 1975 to Sept. 1979
3 years - Oct. 1950 - Aug. 1954
Multiple 2-year periods.
10 years - Sept. 1896 to Oct. 1906
10 years - Sept. 1965 to Sept. 1975
10 years - Sept. 1975 to Sept. 1985
10 years - Oct. 1950 to Sept. 1960
8 years - Oct. 1995 to Aug. 2004
7 years - July 1936 to Oct. 1944
7 years - Oct. 1909 to Sept. 1917
6 years - Sept. 1985 to Aug. 1992
6 years - Oct. 2005 to present
4 years - Sept. 1960 to Sept. 1965
Hurricane Wilma in October 2005 was Florida’s last major storm. The large Category 3 storm struck just south of Naples, packing 120-mph winds and causing $29 billion in damage across the state’s southern tip. Wilma followed Dennis, which struck the Panhandle in July 2005, and Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne in 2004. Now, those storms are a distant memory. Florida is approaching a new sixmonth hurricane season — it starts June 1 — without a blow from even the weakest of hurricanes over an unprecedented stretch. The nation as a whole has seen a record run without a hit by a major hurricane — a Category 3 or higher storm. It’s been more than a century since the country saw such a lull, dating all the way back to the five-season run from September 1900 to September 1906.
Since Wilma hit, hurricane preparation has taken a back seat to job losses, the foreclosure crisis, steep local and state budget cuts and the worst recession in decades. Meanwhile, emergency managers with hurricane experience have retired, residents with hurricane experience have left and new residents with no such experience at all have moved in. The fewer people with personal hurricane experience, the harder it is for new residents to understand what could potentially happen, said Bryan Koon, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, who took the state’s top disaster preparedness job last year.
“We’ve got to have continual messaging to again make them understand hurricanes are bad, but there are positive things you can do to lessen the impacts,” Koon said.
To make a hurricane strike more bearable, people need to have a disaster plan, in addition to at least a three-day supply of food and water and a safe place to store important papers, such as insurance policies. Before storms threaten is the best time to get those plans and supplies in place. But without land-falling hurricanes, it is difficult for the state to successfully get people to prepare.
Remember that “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Let’s prepare, just in case.
On another note, this month we celebrate Father’s Day. The campaign to celebrate the nation’s fathers did not meet with the same enthusiasm as Mother’s Day perhaps because, as one florist explained, “fathers haven’t the same sentimental appeal that mothers have.” On July 5, 1908, a West Virginia church sponsored the nation’s first event explicitly in honor of fathers, a Sunday sermon in memory of the 362 men who had died in the previous December’s explosions at the Fairmont Coal Company mines in Monongah. However, that Sunday sermon was a onetime commemoration and not an annual holiday. The next year, a Spokane, Washington woman named Sonora Smart Dodd, one of six children raised by a widower, tried to establish an official equivalent to Mother’s Day for male parents. She went to local churches, the YMCA, shopkeepers and government officials to drum up support for her idea, and she was successful: Washington State celebrated the nation’s first statewide Father’s Day on July 19, 1910. Slowly, the holiday spread. In 1916, President Wilson honored the day by using telegraph signals to unfurl a flag in Spokane when he pressed a button in Washington, D.C. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge urged state governments to observe Father’s Day. However, many men continued to disdain the day. As one historian writes, they “scoffed at the holiday’s sentimental attempts to domesticate manliness with flowers and gift-giving, or they derided the proliferation of such holidays as a commercial gimmick to sell more products—often paid for by the father himself.” During the 1920s and 1930s, a movement arose to scrap Mother’s Day and Father’s Day altogether in favor of a single holiday, Parents’ Day. Every year on Mother’s Day, pro-Parents’ Day groups rallied in New York City’s Central Park— a public reminder, said Parents’ Day activist and radio performer, Robert Spere, “that both parents should be loved and respected together.” Paradoxically, however, the Depression derailed this effort to combine and de-commercialize the holidays. Struggling retailers and advertisers redoubled their efforts to make Father’s Day a “second Christmas” for men, promoting goods such as neckties, hats, socks, pipes and tobacco, golf clubs and other sporting goods, and greeting cards. When World War II began, advertisers began to argue that celebrating Father’s Day was a way to honor American troops and support the war effort.
By the end of the war, Father’s Day may not have been a federal holiday, but it was a national institution. In 1972, in the middle of a hard-fought presidential reelection campaign, Richard Nixon signed a proclamation making Father’s Day a federal holiday at last. Today, economists estimate that Americans spend more than $1 billion each year on Father’s Day gifts. A survey of fathers in an issue of Family Circle Magazine contained results from a recent national survey of fathers. It had some interesting results:
* 94% feel building a family is the hardest and most important thing a man can do.
* 71% say fatherhood is more demanding than they expected, while 88% say fatherhood is more rewarding.
* 87% say the rewards of fatherhood trump those of career, and 89% approve of men leaving fast-track careers to spend more time with family.
* 90% say becoming a father made them want to be a better person and role model for their kids, while 75% feel a weight of responsibility now that they didn’t before.
We set aside, in the month of June, a time to honor the fathers in this country. However, we are to honor our fathers, not because it’s a holiday, not because it’s a tradition, not because there are sales going on all over the country, but because they are very important to the well-being of a family. The Bible tells us to “Honor your father and mother.” It doesn’t say, to honor only good moms and dads. It doesn’t say to honor them if you like them. It doesn’t say to honor only the right ones. It says: “Honor your father and mother.” So, in this month we honor all fathers. I want this to speak directly to dads because they need to hear this. You see, we are involved in a war today, and the battleground is not in Iraq or Afghanistan. The battleground is in our homes. What’s at stake is not our land, our property, or our freedoms. It’s more important than that. What’s at stake is our children. Believe me—it’s a war, it’s an important war, and in this country, we are losing the battle. Many children are being mentored by everything but good healthy family values. It’s as if the minute they leave home, they begin to live lives that are more of a liability than an asset to society. But this is nothing new. It’s been happening over the course of time. We live in a culture that lacks discipline and instruction. From court cases on television to popular movies, it’s okay to make fun of authority and disrespect elders. This is a war, and we are called to be a part of it. We have the important task of saving our children. As fathers there is something we can do. We need to talk to our children.
We need to be involved in their lives. Are you sharing your values with them? A study was done recently to determine the amount of interaction between fathers and their small children. First, the fathers were asked to estimate the amount of time that they spent each day communicating with their child(ren). The average answer was about 15-20 minutes. Next, microphones were attached to the fathers so that each interaction could be recorded. The results of this study were shocking: The average amount of time spent by these middle-class fathers with their small children was 37 seconds per day. Their direct interaction was limited to 2.7 encounters daily, lasting 10-15 seconds each! Thirty-seven seconds do not come close to meeting the amount of time needed for sufficient communication to ensure children’s healthy upbringing.
Don’t let schools be the only entity that instructs your children. Don’t even let your church be the main thing that instructs your children. I read about a little girl who drew a pretty picture. She went into her dad’s office, crawled upon his lap and said, “Daddy, come and see my picture.” The dad responded, “Not now, honey. I’m busy.” About 10 minutes later, she came back again, crawled upon his lap and said, “Daddy, will you come see my picture now?” At this the dad got frustrated and said, “Can’t you see I’m busy? Don’t bother me right now. I’ll come and look at your picture later. When I’m ready.” A few hours later, the dad said to the daughter, “Can I see the picture now?” The girl replied, “Sure.” The picture was one of her and her brother and her mom standing on the lawn with the family dog, with big smiles, on a sunny day. But the dad noticed that he wasn’t in the picture. So the dad said, “That’s a nice picture, sweetheart. But how come I’m not in it?” The girl said, “Because you’re working in your office, daddy.”
Time is a gift given you can never get back. You can give money, and always make more. You can give gifts, because you can always get new things anyway. But once time is given, it never comes back. Time reveals the priorities in your life. If you want to win the war for your children, you’ve got to invest time. Remember fathers, the way you live your lives will be a direct reflection of how your children will grow up. May our children always be able to say, “My dad is always there for me!” How are you fighting the battle? In closing, I wish you all a safe and enjoyable summer and remember to celebrate our fathers. GOD BLESS AMERICA AND GOD BLESS THE CITY OF WEST PARK. Please do not hesitate to contact me directly at 954.889.4153 with any questions you may have.
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