Skip navigation

In a Knot

By Eliza Kimlin, 2009 2:33 minutes

Get Adobe Flash player

On Black Saturday, Eliza and her family were at the river near Warburton. In this story, she describes her emotions and how her body felt during the bushfire: "worried, excited, confused, tired, stressed, didn't want the house to burn down, hot, cranky, felt sick, stomach in a knot, not hungry". She talks about the effect of stressful situations on relationships.

Collection Living with Disaster


How can emotions affect behaviour when a community is under threat?

Eliza begins her story with how her body felt and her emotions during a bushfire; “worried, excited, confused, tired, stressed, didn’t want the house to burn down, hot, cranky, felt sick, stomach in a knot, not hungry.”

  • Discuss a time in your life when you have felt these sensations and emotions.
  • Paint a picture or create a poem expressing these emotions.

Eliza says she “didn’t want to fight with family but did anyway.” Stressful situations can sometimes lead to conflict even between family and friends who have a caring relationship.

  • Discuss what makes a group of people a family. Create family tree diagrams that show the relationships within their family.
  • Family trees often refer to families by birth or marriage. Create a root system for your family tree that connects other important people to a family relationship such as doctor, classmates, basketball coach etc.
  • List things family members do with one another; and for one another in the story and in your own family.
  • Create a class definition for ‘family’. Compare students’ ideas with a dictionary meaning.
  • List the different ways family members communicate with each other.
  • Divide a page into two columns. In the first column, create a list of the diverse ways we communicate with other people. For example, writing a letter, making a telephone call, SMS, chat, sending a fax or an email, using body language and facial expressions. In the second column, write ways in which these forms of communication can be misconstrued. Recall a time when your well meaning gesture has been misconstrued by someone else..

Eliza was frightened that she might lose someone that she loved. She was also worried that she might lose her house. A house 'shelters not only the body but also its inner life, memories and dreams', writes the Queensland architect Brit Andresen. (ABC Radio National program 6 June 2009)

  • Create a list of qualities which make a ‘house’ a ‘home’.
  • Create a timeline showing milestones that people can achieve from birth through to adulthood, for example, smiling, sitting up, walking, losing first tooth, riding a bike, learning to swim, gaining a driving licence, leaving home, buying a car or home. How many of these milestones are experienced in your home?