Human remains found, missing senior citizen, loss of jobs, new arrangements for school children as they are left alone at home all contribute to the already stressful situation of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Even Mother Nature herself is dealing some serious blows as we hear of the volcano in Saint Vincent and a man being killed in his garden by a tree. While the new coronavirus is being blamed for our woes, there are some people who have said thank you to the year 2020 for slowing down their lives enough that they can now have a new perspective taking notice of the things they were too busy to observe. How many of us knew we had Buttercups growing in our yard? How many of us knew the puppy had a white paw? And how many of us know that our children are on drugs?
As the pandemic brings on curfew hours, people have found that they are now spending more time at home and in some cases with their families as they try to isolate themselves from the cruel world outside. And why not since we know the phrase ‘Home sweet home’. The home in days of old no matter how humble was a safe haven in times of stress; the family was seen as the main source of peace and comfort. Families living in harmony offer their individual members the necessary strength to carry on in spite of hardship and difficulty.
There are people who are still alive that can remember coping through trying times brought about by political upheavals in past years. These people most likely remember the power of communal living which saw them through. Today we all pine for that lost way of life as each person is left alone to paddle his own canoe. It is said that our mechanical society fosters aggression instead of human kindness. People are busy looking out for themselves, making communal life even more unbearable. The question is can one make up for the deficit of neighbourly compassion by escaping into his own world?
While it is a rapidly changing world, our needs remain constant. So it stands to reason that people should seek to put meaning to their lives despite the pandemic that has changed the world. The revelation that domestic violence is now on the rise is a telling sign that there is work to be done in relationships. With today’s era of modern technology the problems of society and the outside world follow us right into our homes, imperiously demanding our time and attention and taking control of our mood. Thus bringing on unwanted stressful situations. There are some who think that they can crawl into their little corners and ignore the rest of the world. But according to the dynamics of modern life –once one retreats, he/she becomes isolated and the spirit of the times will simply pass by instead of learning to cope.
While we focus on emotional support for the family, it is important to have a healthy, active interaction with the outside world. But according to a line in the Desiderata poem let this not blind you to what virtue there may be because it is still a beautiful world despite the bad news.
Every effort should be made to get rid of domestic violence and that’s where the professionals come in handy to identify the needs of the individuals that can’t all of a sudden, seem to get along. Everyone needs and deserves the comfort offered by loved ones. Let’s not allow the stress of the time to bar us from our responsibilities to our families. The challenges may be great, but with a spirit of togetherness, they can be worked out.
When it comes to raising children, parents should keep in mind that safety and security do not necessarily develop strength of character and resourcefulness. Sooner or later they will all be exposed to the realities of the outside world so they may as well be prepared for them. From a young age they should learn to nurture strength of spirit to shield them in sudden misfortune. They should also be taught that success in the outside world depends on one’s ability to communicate and to get along well with others. The lesson in the story of the ‘Big bad wolf’ should help in driving the point home that if they did not build a strong house, (willpower) it will be blown down by the big bad wolf. Maybe some of us adults even today did not realise that the ‘Big bad wolf’ is real. We probably missed the moral behind the story that the wolf comes in forms such as peer pressure, drugs, and other ways that can destroy young people. A strong house is like having a strong mind to stand up and say “No” to drugs and other misdemeanors which can only take people down a dark road to hell.
Life, on the other hand, can be enjoyed even in these dark days of COVID-19, once the focus falls in the right place.