A Viral Blessing?
By Sheryl McAlister
I was catching up on the news this morning and came across several stories and posts that made me think about all the good that comes out of a disaster. The humanity. The kindness. The ingenuity.
Someone had posted, on LinkedIn, a poem by Lynn Unger, about the Jewish Sabbath. Reading it made me wonder if the Coronavirus just might be a blessing in disguise.
There are so many stories of humanity and compassion. The post of the woman who helped an elderly couple shop for groceries because they were too afraid to get out of their car. The video of a group of Italians, who collectively celebrated the country’s love of music, while standing on their home balconies. The college baseball coach, whose son survived cancer, who put the season in perspective.
What if this virus has given parents an opportunity to spend some more time with their children? No school. No sports. No extracurricular activities. Not a million places to be. Just home. With each other.
What if ALL professional sports athletes and owners followed the lead of a few, to help arena workers in their venues? Several professional athletes and owners have shown extraordinary leadership in covering salaries of venue workers where games have been canceled.
What if schools across the country were virtual for a while, instead of just closing the doors? What if kids had to learn how to be independent learners? What if kids were actually doing homework at a kitchen table instead of the back seat of an SUV on the way to ball practice?
What if teachers and guidance counselors could then have a chance to actually just advise and teach online without all the added stress and danger which are part of their profession these days?
What if all cleaning crews received Wall Street-level bonuses for their courage to clean and sanitize every surface a human hand comes into contact with? The Costco employee who managed the distribution of clean shopping carts yesterday was king. And everybody followed his lead.
This virus will be contained. It will take a little time, but it will be contained. In the meantime, I feel for those high school kids who needed to play. Wanted to play. The high school seniors who don’t have the chance to experience that feeling you only have once in life. Those college teams who were so close to a perfect season or championship. All cheated out of a shot at that one shining moment. (I still don’t understand why those championships had to be canceled outright and not rescheduled.)
What if kids played kickball in the yard instead of practicing soccer or lacrosse? What if kids held fungo drills in the front yard? Set up obstacle courses to work on eye, foot coordination.
Walk the dog. Wash the car. (Remember wax on, wax off?) Rake the leaves. Play pickup basketball. Hold a four-square tournament. (With a chalk-drawn court. In the driveway.) Hit a tennis ball against the side of the house.
Run. Read. Talk to each other.
For how long? Nobody knows for sure. The one thing that is certain, however, is that we are all in this together. Our collective success and healing rely on each of us doing the right thing. Looking out for the next guy. And at some point, we will look back on this time and understand all that we gained from the experience instead of all that we lost.
©Copyright 2020 Sheryl McAlister.
Photo by Johns Hopkins University.