“I thought disasters are only on television. I have never imagined it could really happen before my own eyes. Now it is happening in front of me. At last, I learn that it could really come anytime in your life and take everything matters for granted.”

A 14-year-old girl had just learned quite of something in her life. She couldn’t forget the charity concert a year back in her town as a tribute to tsunami in Aceh. She didn’t see the disaster directly. She didn’t think that it would come shortly to her life as the earthquake has become part of life and it has never been a really huge problem before. Her childish mind could not resist to think over this sudden big earthquake.

For fourteen years, she has witnessed the calamity of disaster through television. Homes, family, wealth, all that people have in their life suddenly were taken away just within a quick move. She felt a great pity seeing all the sad faces behind a disaster for she has never imagined how would it be to lose a mother, a father, a brother, a sister, or a home. That feeling of sympathy for her fellow brothers and sisters in the emergency area, the disastrous scene, the calamity of war, and any chaos made by human deeds apparently came to herself for real.

She continued walking to school hoping that she could begin a day as usual. Yes, she insisted on learning new thing. That was the strongest motive taking her steps to see her school. She remembered the early days when she was younger, everyday mother walked her down to school giving her a hope for a future. People say going to school can change everything at least to dream for a better tomorrow. However, the saying sounded like a wishful thinking just after any emergency happened.

The way to school seemed so horrible after the earthquake. Everywhere she walked, there was only a dead city in front of her eyes. Indeed, the school was closed for weeks. She felt so upset. That night everything just changed. Everyone shared the sky to hold the life up and the land to step on, for each had a sleep under the night sky and lying over the bare land altogether.

The beginning story portrays the true feelings of a kid under an emergency. Whether it be a natural disaster or a human-made disaster. What remains are not only the physical devastation but also psychological emergency. The visible scar all over their bodies would probably be cured over time. But, would there be any cure for the scar over their untouchable heart, a pure heart of a kid who knows nothing about war or human exploitation leading into such a ‘beautiful’ disaster?

The kids being at their golden age of development certainly are to be the main concern for becoming the victims of disaster. What remain in their eyes are not only their homes that are burnt, but also families and friends who are missing, wealth being swept away, and hearts that are broken. Everything in the past tends to visualize our children about the looks of the future which is the reason why it matters to think over the invisible impacts of disaster to kids.

To nurture children is a way to dream of and build in a resilient generation. The soulful hearts of the children needs to be taken care of before their hearts are ‘paralyzed’. A disaster, whether it be a human-made or natural one, brings an important message upon the earth. It is the duty of the older generation to bring the message into the hearts of the younger generation that the mission of life as human race is to lead upon the earth among the living thing at the very best one can.

To bring peace and create well being in everyone’s life, aren’t those everyone’s dream in life? Indeed, living on earth is part of a system. The constellation visualizes the system and subsystem that have existed. Humans and nonhumans are the dependent actors in the system of life. Hence, the ecological views of ethics go along well with this idea. Sustainability is the matter demanding both the attention of the current generation and the future one. In the ecological as well as the construct of justice and rights give quite of the same direction to human over the importance of awareness on sustainability for the future generation. At the end, there is this important link between human and environment. Environment interpreted as either the nature or interpersonal relations are the connections to keep well being upon the earth.

The education at the end should be responsible to bring and deliberate the notion of awareness as well as moral reasoning in understanding nature and the system of life. Natural disaster happens with a reason. Thus, current generation are also responsible for the well being of our nature in the future. Conflicts, war, chaos do not only leave the physical damage into people but also nonphysical impact such as psychological and emotional crisis especially for the kids that can significantly affect their behavior. Education on disaster mitigation, simulation, moral reasoning, and self awareness should be spread continuously to all members of our society especially our children for they will be our future generation.

“I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside…” (The Greatest Love-Whitney Houston)

A reflective journal from the eyes of a child who has grown up,

Nur Isnaini Masyithoh.

*This essay was originally written and sent to Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergency