What If? (Looking for a Silver Lining)

If there’s one thing most of us can agree upon, it’s that this whole coronavirus thing is upsetting and scary. Even for those who are still in denial about the seriousness of the situation, you can’t deny that it’s already had a huge impact on millions of Americans – lost jobs, lost opportunities, inability to pay bills, businesses going under, sickness, even death. The stress, anxiety and grief are very real.

But just maybe, something positive will come out of this. I saw a post on Facebook, couldn’t find the original source, but it got me (and a lot of other people) thinking. So, thank you to whoever first posted this alternate view to today’s reality.

“What if??? 

If they cancel the rest of the school year, students would miss 2.5 months of education. Many people are concerned about students falling behind because of this. Yes, they may fall behind when it comes to classroom education…

But what if…

What if instead of falling “behind,” this group of kids are ADVANCED because of this? Hear me out…

What if they have more empathy, they enjoy family connection, they can be more creative and entertain themselves, they love to read, they love to express themselves in writing. What if they enjoy the simple things, like their own backyard and sitting near a window in the quiet?

What if they notice the birds and the dates the different flowers emerge, and the calming renewal of a gentle rain shower?

What if this generation are the ones to learn to cook, organize their space, do their laundry and keep a well-run home?

What if they learn to stretch a dollar and to live with less?

What if they learn to plan shopping trips and meals at home?

What if they learn the value of eating together as a family and finding the good to share in the small delights of the everyday?

What if they are the ones to place great value on our teachers and educational professionals, librarians, public servants and the previously invisible essential support workers like truck drivers, grocers, cashiers, custodians, logistics and health care workers and their supporting staff, just to name a few of the millions taking care of us right now while we are sheltered in place?

What if, among these children, a great leader emerges who had the benefit of a slower pace and a simpler life to truly learn what really matters in this life?

What if they are AHEAD?

America has seen how devastating events can impact entire generations with lasting effect – the Great Depression, World War II, Vietnam, September 11. What will the impact of coronavirus be on us? On our parents? Our children? Our governments?

It is my sincere hope that after a vaccine is developed, after all are inoculated and the threat is no more, that we can look back on these days and see some good come from them. What if, as a result, our children step away from their screens and go outside to enjoy the sunshine a little each day? What if parents (myself included) also step away from their screens to play a board game with their kids or enjoy a walk through the park? What if our government begins to take distant threats more seriously? What if our media drops the partisanship and just covers the facts (probably the most doubtful)? What if our nation begins to prize and value the truth of science? What if we become more caring as a nation?

We’ll see.