Hello Educators. How are you doing and how are you managing in our new altered reality? It is hard to believe that in less than two weeks we have gone from being carefree to being almost fully restricted in how we live, move, and interact. What started as a distant story in what seemed like thousands of miles away has found its way to our very own doorstep. Everyday the number of confirmed cases continues to climb, full industries have shuttered their doors, seasons/events/festivals have been postponed or even canceled, and even the schools that we work in and support are being closed until further notice. To top is all off, we are being asked to practice a level of social distancing that is uncomfortable and robs us of the closeness that may bring a level of comfort during this time of uncertainty.
As I pondered the magnitude of what this virus has done globally and how it has completely shifted the narrative on the planet, what has continued to ring loud and clear is that what has proliferated the spread of this virus is also a large part of the solution. A public health expert recently stated that to slow down and minimize the spread of COVID-19, three different responses are required; federal; state and local; and the response of an informed and responsive community. Let's consider our role in the community.
It has become quite clear that we are simply not as separate as we may believe we are. The world is much smaller than we acknowledge and the ripple effect that occurs when challenges are occuring several continents away take much less time to be felt. It appears that life is beginning to display, quite dramatically, that if we do not acknowledge the apparent connectedness that exists between all of humanity, we will suffer great losses many times over. Herman Melville said…
”We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.”
We are in a situation where this quote cannot be anymore true. If we are to ever come out of this crisis, it will require that we think and operate with the good of all in mind. It isn’t enough to know that "if I become infected I may likely recover so no real precautions are needed". Moving in the direction of heightened precautions may be necessary simply because it would protect others who are dependent on my making sound decisions for the collective good. Yes…we live in an individualistic society in our country. We are pushed to shoot for our dreams, fight for our goals, climb the ladder of success while often times sacrificing the collective good. What becomes clear in our situation today is that the rules that we’ve been operating within may not apply and may not always be beneficial for the world we need to embrace to survive. If it isn’t the Coronavirus, it will be some other aspect of our society that reminds us of our need for one another and the power that exists in our collective humanity rather than our individualistic pursuits and agendas.
So, as we sit, restricted in our movements and immensely grateful for the internet that allows us to remain connected to the world we are banned from experiencing; let’s pause and consider how even in this challenging experience, we can create opportunities to center and to find a greater meaning in life and in those around us. Maybe we can recognize how much human touch does matter and relish it more when we aren’t limited in our expression. Perhaps we may think more intently about how our individual actions matter and can send ripples through our families, our classrooms, our schools and our communities. We matter, what we do matters, what we say matters, and we are seeing that much more now than ever before. Whether we feel like it or not, we have immense power and how we choose to use it has significant impact. I end this with the following quote...
“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. “ – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Let's own our power and put out a steady dose of conscious and caring action that can help shift not only a virus but the course of life for those we touch on a regular basis. Stay well.
In Solidarity and Love,