As a species we mobilize toward threat. We fixate on the negative in the news and are pinged for alerts 24/7. A need for self-preservation along with media feeding our fear keeps us on edge, readied for the attack. Being so isolated at this time and feeling hypervigilant at the grocery store, the pharmacy, getting mail, etc. is taxing our physiologies.
This at a time when being more calm would improve our immune systems, our interactions with family and, as a result, our children’s health. A shift in focus may help us see some of the lovely, caring things that are happening around us each day which in turn would improve our health and our children’s health.
Mr. Rogers would advise us to look for the helpers in a crisis. Our caregivers on the frontlines along with those working in grocery stores and food production, cleaners, delivery workers, police, sanitation workers, etc., are some amazing examples. There are also people sewing masks for others. Some artists are offering drawing lessons on-line through local libraries. Others get groceries for our more vulnerable members.
And then there are also the lovely things people are doing in our communities. I’ve heard of teddy bears placed in windows for children to observe on their walks. I have seen painted rocks placed along the sidewalk that offer encouraging messages of connection and hope. (see photos) A basket left out asked those walking by to place a stick inside so we may see that we are not alone. A long chalk obstacle course was drawn on the sidewalk for others to enjoy. Children are leaving chalk messages on driveways as well.
These are activities that families could do together (while observing precautions) to help children see they are a part of something much bigger than themselves. They have the power to offer hope to others feeling alone during this time. They continue to have the power to help others stay healthy by washing hands, keeping distance and not touching things no matter how tempting and wonderful they may be. We are a part of something much bigger than a virus or a crisis which will end. We are part of a caring community and children too are amongst the helpers and the heroes.