(Marsh) Mellowing Out About Hurricane Season


I am not a patient person. A grad school professor once asked my class how we would respond if we were one of the students in the famous “Stanford marshmallow test.” While my peers seemed evenly divided between immediately eating the marshmallow or waiting, I confessed that I’d eat my marshmallow, then beat up the kid next to me and eat their marshmallow, too. (Yes, I know, that’s not really a good look for a humanitarian executive.)

Even so, it seems like the universe has recently been telling me to “be patient” about a lot of things.

Work crew looking like it might not be able to complete the replacement siding on my house before Hurricane Season? “Be patient.” Finding a temporary home for a huge donation of material handling equipment? “Be patient.” Waiting on the drop for “The Tortured Poets Department”? “Be patient.”

Sometimes, like in the case of my siding, there’s very little we can do about these frustrating delays, because the circumstances behind them are totally beyond our control. (For example, I live in one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the nation, so construction crews are difficult to come by.) Hence the best thing we can do is adjust our attitude, hold onto our marshmallows and try our best to wait patiently.

But sometimes, like in the case of that material handling equipment donation, there is something we can do to move things forward, especially if we’re willing to adjust our expectations and plans or put a little more time and effort into finding a solution. (Thank you to Partners’ Warehouse and Port Jersey Logistics for the assistance on that one). In which case, the best thing we can do is take action.

And sometimes patience isn’t a virtue at all. It’s a recipe for disaster (literally), especially if there’s a potential hazard that has the ability to beat you up if you’re not careful.

As we look ahead toward what predictions say could be the most active Hurricane Season ever, now is not the time for patience in your preparedness activities. Now is the time to push ahead with plans to clean those storm drains, buy that flood insurance, map out your evacuation routes, shore up your partnerships – and to ensure your members, your families, and your friends are doing the same.

So, here’s my advice to you this week: Be patient where you can and give grace to those who may not deserve it. After all, that’s what grace is – unearned, unmerited favor.

But when it comes to your hurricane safety, feel free to be impatient, too, because when the stakes for waiting until the last minute are high, it’s a smarter idea to act. Sometimes you just gotta eat the marshmallow.


Kathy Fulton

Executive Director

American Logistics Aid Network

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