What I am learning from Solar Eclipse 2017

In case you haven’t heard, Solar Eclipse 2017 is a major event in our life! We’re going to experience what could potentially be a once in a lifetime solar eclipse. The event hasn’t even happened, but I have already learned so much.

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What I am learning from Solar Eclipse 2017

We thought we were doing really good and being proactive. A family member went online and purchased a package of 50 eclipse glasses so all of the cousins and nephews/nieces were ready for the eclipse. The problem started when we got the email advising us that the glasses were fake and we should throw them away and definitely not use them.

I didn’t think that was a big problem. After all, they only cost about $1.00 each so I would just grab some official eclipse glasses so my kids wouldn’t miss out on the event. That’s when the fun began.

No one had the glasses in their stores. All the typical online options were sold out. I checked the library, eye doctor, and local stores only to find that they had just sold the last one. End story – we were out of luck.

Fortunately, we ended up getting a pair for each of the family members by stopping in the library when they had a special program and then the school sent a viewer home with each of the kids but for a while there we weren’t sure if we would be successful.

So what have I learned from this experience?

Get prepared BEFORE the event:

You can’t wait until the last minute to get prepared. This translates to every event in our life. Whether we are storing back water bottles for winter storms, batteries for flashlights, extra canned goods, medicines, or eclipse glasses, the best time to buy these things is BEFORE we need them.

Buy when you see them:

A few weeks ago I was in the grocery and saw the eclipse glasses at the check out counter. I even picked them up and thought about buying them. But I had already rung up my order and didn’t feel like going through the checkout process again. Obviously, that was the best time I should have bought them. When you see the things you will need later on, buy them. Don’t wait and then regret your delay.

Things cost less when they’re not needed:

The eclipse is not over yet, but I can guarantee you that on Tuesday morning, it will be easy to order eclipse glasses for a cheap price. That’s because things always cost less when no one needs them. The good news is that right now no one needs generators, snow shovels or emergency radios so the prices may be better and the selection larger than if we wait till late December.

Fear fuels misinformation:

The minute the news started saying that there were fake glasses on the market, parents on social media started sharing posts from eye doctors and pseudo experts. Some of the information is valid and makes great sense. But very quickly, these personal opinions were being shared as factual information. Obviously, we all want our kids to be safe, but how far do we protect them? Do we hide them in the house with the curtains closed so they don’t take a chance on eye damage? Or do we just educate them and help monitor their activity while they’re out tomorrow watching the event? It’s important in any life event to make sure we get our facts straight and not let fear become the creator of the new reality.

Have a backup plan for all events:

In the case of the solar eclipse, my backup plan is very simple. I have shoeboxes, aluminum foil and the plans printed out so the kids and I can make our own solar eclipse viewing boxes. This is a simple backup plan. But in real life emergencies, the backup plan is a little more in depth. We talk to our kids about events that could potentially occur and how we expect to maneuver the situations. They know who to contact and what to do in different situations. Talk with your family and know the backup plan so in emergency situations everyone is ready.

What have you learned from this solar eclipse event? I’d love to hear if you are changing the way you prepare for events based on this once in a lifetime event!

Excerpts of this article appeared in the print edition of the Danville Advocate Messenger.

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