The Oklahoma Standard - MetroFamily Magazine
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The Oklahoma Standard

by Dorian Quillen

Reading Time: 2 minutes 

It is hard to believe that it has now been one year since Oklahoma was raked by killer tornadoes.

The dark events that once again challenged our state brought back another familiar experience – the “Oklahoma Standard.”

After the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City, those who came to help, and indeed the world, witnessed a community outpouring of strength and support and kindness so incredibly overwhelming it became known simply as “The Oklahoma Standard.”

Rather than being defined by our worst experiences as a state, whether it be the Oklahoma City bombing, the May 3, 1999 tornado, or the killer twisters of last May, Oklahomans have chosen instead to be known by our response to events that could have brought out our worst.
When we were confronted by hatred, we responded with compassion. When we were faced with destruction, we offered a helping hand to rebuild. What the whole world witnessed in the aftermath of the bombing was once again on display last May. Strangers helped strangers. People brought food, clothing and comfort to victims. Neighbors helped clear debris. We chose to focus not on the destruction, but on whatever we could do both individually and collectively to rebuild our communities.

“The Oklahoma Standard” is a great strategy for dealing with the terrible events life often presents in our own lives. We may face challenges which seem beyond our capacity to overcome, yet by choosing a response of resilience we refuse to be defined by the worst things that happen to us.

We often do not choose the events which happen to us. Bad things happen to good people all the time. Focusing on things beyond our control is a certain recipe for stress, frustration and an inability to enjoy life.

A better strategy is to focus our energies and resources on what we can control, and that is how we will respond to the harshest experiences of our lives. We can either be defined by them, or through employing, “The Oklahoma Standard,” we can meet them with resilience, compassion and kindness that is hard to explain.

That’s what we do here in Oklahoma. That is what we taught the world to do. They do it everywhere now, but I like to think we started it.
As we reflect on this difficult time, I am proud to be an Oklahoman. God bless those affected by the events of last May and God bless all those who daily live, “The Oklahoma Standard.”

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