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Exercising Values

Happy, Healthy, Kind, & Considerate Kids

Mom Loses Legs Saving Children from a Tornado

character inspiration parenting values Mar 07, 2012

Stephanie Decker demonstrated the highest form of love for her children by willingly sacrificing her own safety to shelter her children as a tornado demolished her house in Henryville, Indiana. With only moments to choose her course of action, she threw herself over her five year old daughter and eight year old son who later emerged without a scratch. Their mother was less fortunate and has lost one leg above the knee and the other above the ankle. Thirteen others in the state died from the storms that ravaged Indiana on Friday, Mar. 2nd 2012 with thirty-nine deaths over a ten state region visited by eighty-eight twisters.

Stephanie's  son went for help and neighbors who had lost everything themselves came to her rescue with emergency first aid and sending for an ambulance. Depth of character and compassion shone from the devastation that day. Having lost their three story dream home and severely injured, Stephanie  expressed gratefulness that her children were spared and that she is alive to watch them grow up. Her husband tearfully tells the story of his wife's heroism and his love for her.

In Exercising Values we teach our children important character qualities. The reflection necessary to do this  naturally improves  our own interaction with others. We merely hope that our improving character is demonstrated in little ways every day. We can never anticipate when it might be called upon in a more urgent and dramatic way,

In this case, a mother who was devoted to her children and who possessed great character had that character manifested in a moment of complete self-sacrifice. Then it was further apparent in her humble and grateful attitude in dealing with the price for that service to others. Likewise her son did not panic but instead responded quickly to get his mother the emergency care she needed. He is a hero as well.

As moms we all hope to act just as Stephanie Decker did should such a threat loom over our children. The best preparation is to develop qualities such as love, loyalty, compassion, kindness, boldness, and the like day by day. We can't wait for the emergency but must prepare ahead realizing that there are many more subtle threats to our children's well-being that can harm them in other ways. There are forces that want to mold our children toward an agenda we might disagree with or draw them into dangerous activities or even activities that just waste their time and squander their potential.

What are we willing to sacrifice on a daily basis to protect our children? Fifteen minutes a day to teach physical fitness to ward off a multitude of health problems seems like a small price to pay. When you add character training to that consistent family time, you have the formula for preventing a host of behavior problems and setting your child up for success in school and in life. People with good character are natural leaders because they have the traits others wish to follow and emulate. We lead our children so they in turn will become great leaders.

All of us have great admiration for Stephanie Decker and her example might just lead us to re-examine our own daily commitment to becoming the kind of people capable of courageous acts of mercy and love. It also gives us pause to be grateful for our families and our precious time with them. The challenge this day and every day is to be a little less selfish and a little more concerned about others. We can only be grateful for people like Stephanie Decker that show us what love is willing to give.

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About the Author

Pamela Davenport


For decades I have helped countless parents and their children overcome significant obstacles. My unique accomplishments in the fields of child development, health, and fitness have given me an unparalleled perspective and expertise that I would love to share with you.

  • Award-Winning Author and Parenting Coach
  • Mother of six and grandmother of five
  • Studied Juvenile Justice at Stanford University
  • Master’s degree in Social Work
  • Experienced family counselor
  • Support group leader for struggling parents
  • Taught health at the university level
  • Program manager for the personal training programs at two colleges
  • Personal Trainer helping people lose 5lb-100lb+
  • Two-time Ironman Triathlete and competing member of team USA
  •  UMB Lifetime Sportswoman Award 2017