If you are like me, by now you have been assaulted at every turn in your daily life with information in every aspect of the media about the current coronavirus outbreak. You are being told what you should do, think and understand about every aspect associated with this matter. And yet, all of the real experts have indicated that we don’t know everything about this virus in order to make definitive assertions on any level. Most likely, if it is possible, you have been asked to work from home and to shelter away from having contact with others which creates a whole new set of issues with which you must deal. Or even harder, the business in which you work has been closed completely for whatever duration that is yet to be determined and you now have a whole new set of considerations in trying to figure out how to pay your bills and purchase the necessities for those in your household. And in addition, the confinement to home whether alone or with a family soon presents a whole new set of issues for everyone. So what is someone to do?
“There is nothing more important at this moment than those with whom we share our personal space.”Barbara Jacoby
I suppose that the key word for me is “respect”. Every single person acts and reacts based upon what they were taught and what they believe. Further, those of us in the United States live in a country that allows us the freedom to make our own choices. But, with those freedoms come a responsibility that many people are not willing to accept and for them all that counts is their own selfish wants and motives. And this applies to both our world within our homes and outside.
However, what we choose to do whether at home or outside will be based upon our willingness to be respectful of those around us. If we need to shop for groceries, hoarding of goods that we may not need will deprive others of a supply that may become a matter of survival for them. We have all seen the videos of people fighting over water and toilet paper and any number of other goods. We have seen the empty shelves that once held things like bread and soup and milk and eggs, not because there is a shortage but because many people don’t care about anyone else and what their overstocking may do to those who might need some of those products now before the stores can restock, especially if that next person didn’t have the money to buy those products before this particular day. And now we are seeing the videos of the people who are gathering on the beaches for Spring break and still going to bars and restaurants as usual if they are not being locked out generally living their lives with the abandon to which they feel entitled.
The same situations apply at home. Children may be having a hard time trying to stay focused and do the school work to which they have been assigned. They are used to home being for every other purpose other than those disciplines that they must assume in the school setting so the adjustment may not come easily. For those who are used to participating in school activities and sports on a regular basis who suddenly find those outlets taken away, they may not be able to find other things to do that provide some sort of similar outlets for those expressions. And most importantly, for those who have spouses, significant others and/or other adults in the home, being together all day, every day, creates a social situation to which many are having a very difficult time adjusting.
I do believe that the only way everyone can survive is to respect the individual needs of each person in the home. There will be those who really rely on the interaction with others to create the best situation while others may want to be isolated in another room to read or write, etc. Perhaps this would be the perfect time for families to sit down at the table together for sharing a meal and conversation with one another. Or perhaps playing a game together or building a puzzle might be something else to consider. And hopefully, when situations arise over such things like which TV shows to watch, a system can be worked out so that everyone can feel that their choices are being respected.
There is nothing more important at this moment than those with whom we share our personal space. There is no issue that can’t be resolved without consideration for one another. And if such issues arise within your home, this may be the perfect time for a teaching moment for those who don’t understand the need to peacefully coexist and participate in decision making that is best for the group and not only in the interest of an individual. Perhaps with such an approach this will help us all learn to be more tolerant of one another, even when we don’t agree, so that we can work together, not only now but also in the future, to solve everything together.
Barbara Jacoby is an award winning blogger that has contributed her writings to multiple online publications that have touched readers worldwide.