What Florida weather can teach us about life Print
Youth Column
Written by Karen Osborne, Catholic News Service   
Thursday, Aug. 07, 2014 -- 12:00 AM

I live in Florida. It is just as fun to live here as people imagine. We've got beaches, boating, world-class theme parks, and all sorts of fun just minutes from our front door.

Here's a secret, though: There are some things the tourist books won't tell you. One of them is about the nasty weather. Did you know that summer in Florida isn't just hot? It's sweltering.

I often take an extra bottle of water or an extra change of clothes if I go out. I also will plan my schedule around the "daily thunderstorm," or the cacophony of rain, thunder and lightning that happens every summer afternoon between 2 and 4.

Your reaction to the daily thunderstorm is a good way to find out if you're a true Floridian or somebody who has lived here for a while. True Floridians grab a poncho or an umbrella and get on with their lives. Others will complain about the storm, moaning and whining about how it's ruining their day.

My favorite Florida weather story took place at one of the local theme parks. We were at the top of the coaster when the skies opened up and it started to rain. By the time we got off the roller coaster, we were shivering, wind-whipped, and soaked to the skin -- not happy and dry as we'd hoped.

Walking down the street afterward, I noticed that everyone else looked miserable. Since we were already wet, we were outside, enjoying life, skipping down the sidewalk, and getting in line for the next ride.

We were having more fun than the rest, even though we'd been stuck in bad weather.

Let's be honest -- life isn't always a beautiful sunny day. Life has rough patches and storms, and they're never well-timed or convenient. How you handle these unexpected thunderstorms -- in life or on the streets -- may signal success.

What can you do when you're on the roller coaster of life and the rains come?

First, don't freak out. Just because it's raining, it doesn't mean it's going to rain forever. The sun will come out, your clothes will dry and things will get sunnier. Floridians know that no storm lasts forever, not even the most ferocious of hurricanes.

Second, be proactive. You can still be out in the rain if you grab an umbrella or a poncho. Turn to your friends, your parents and your teachers for advice, for help and shelter when the dark clouds gather. You might have to go out in the storm, but you don't have to go alone and you can take measures to stay safe.

Third, your attitude toward the storms in your life is important. You could spend your afternoon complaining about how cold you are or you could notice the beauty of raindrops on tree leaves and even run and splash through the puddles.

Quite often, a person's ability to get through tough times depends on their ability to see the good in any situation.

That's how people grow stronger. That's how people grow better. That's how people grow up. So, enjoy the weather, no matter what's coming on the horizon.

Karen Dietlein Osborne contributes to “Coming of Age,” a CNS column series for and about youth. She is a staff writer for the Evangelist, newspaper of the Diocese of Albany, N.Y..


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