As we continue to ride the wave of the pandemic, many of us are reflecting on what has been lost and what has been gained throughout these past seven months.In our interviews for “The Story of Kennett: Shaping Our Future One Child at a Time,” Bob George and I found that youth tend to look at their futures with a fresh pair of eyes and see potential waiting for them.
Youth do not have the established patterns that many of us have settled into and they don’t seem to be worrying about patterns coming back in the same way. You might say youth will look at something new because they are still learning about change.Instead of looking at what they have lost during this time, they now have the opportunity to engage their core process of exploring and experimenting and reflect on the new experiences that the pandemic has presented.
One of the stark lessons that we are learning is that we can’t have the world at our fingertips. As with everyone globally, we’ve had to “make do” with what we had in the confines of our home when the “stay at home” order was given . This meantstaying in a space with persons that we call “family” with all other connections becoming virtual.
The people we lived with became central.Instead of the pattern of passing in the night, with each household member having different individual activities, many of us are now sharing mealtimes, taking hikes and watching movies together. This was a valued practice from the past that many of us have lost along the way; has this presented a new opportunity?
And what about having to buy the latest trend? It seems new fashions, make-up and jewelry, along with many other adornments have taken a back seat in the purchasing world. As we change some of our outside activity patterns, maybe we don’t need as much as we thought we did---another opportunity to evaluate consumer patterns?
Having a plan for the future has been a process that has been built into our American culture. Planning for education, jobs, having a family, financial retirement; there is a planning system set-up for each phase of our life. During the pandemic, many of these plans have gone out the window or certainly look different than “planned.”
In the past month, the returning school plans have changed several times and if the pattern continues, it will be changing many times over. Learning to plan---then adjust; plan--then adjust seems to be the new pattern.Living in the present moment and being willing to be flexible, adaptable and creative are all qualities that have the potential to be developed at this time. Along with this, why not just enjoy the day that I am living---Another opportunity?
Before the pandemic, keeping a busy schedule and cramming as much as possible into one day seemed to be more the norm than not. As the virus brought things to a startling halt, pausing became a whole new experience. So now what? What do I do with all those hours that I filled up with work and school hours; sports and extracurricular activities? Learning to regroup, creating a new structure, setting different priorities and follow- through can become a brand-new platform. Is this a learning opportunity for discovering how to lead one’s life, versus having life lead us!
Finally, the motto of “we are all in this together” has helped growa deeper awareness of our interdependence. This time of hearing and seeing the whole world come to a stop because we are all affected by one COVID 19 is giving all of us a wake-up call.
We are learning what we do impacts others, if we accept it or fight it, and ultimately none of us can make it alone. This lesson brings awareness to many of those less fortunate, and the acts of caring and compassion have multiplied. Have we seized this opportunity?
There are always two sides to a coin, yet sometimes one side shines more brightly. During this time, we are being given new learning opportunities. The youth are naturally wired this way so we may want to ask them,“What new potential has come out of this time for you?”