MOMMY CHRONICLES: See the Light, Be the Light
Photo credit: © Can Stock Photo / PixelsAway
By Stacy Turner
In times of crisis, children’s TV host Fred Rogers urged people to look for the helpers in an effort to see the positives in a negative or scary situation. He is quoted as saying, “To this day, especially in times of 'disaster,' I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world."
During this global pandemic, that idea has helped some of us refocus in order to see and to be a light in this difficult and trying time. Heath care workers and first responders who set aside their worries to care for their communities are the first who come to mind. And who would have thought, just a few months ago, how important grocery store workers would become? And other unsung heroes like truck drivers, power company workers, and trash haulers who continue to keep things moving forward in the midst of uncertainty deserve a shout out, as well.
But life has changed for everyone, even those whose jobs have been moved home, who’ve added the new role as homeschool parent. Everyone has made adjustments thanks to COVID-19. But that hasn’t stopped folks from helping each other out. Neighbors share food and supplies -- both for people and for pets, so that everyone has what they need to get by. Friends and family reach out by phone or text to check in on those not so near, but still dear to them.
Local educators reach out to students online, via email, or phone, helping give students a semi-normal schedule and letting kids know they care. In spite of sports being placed on hold, coaches have been sharing workouts with their athletes, providing them something to work toward, something to do, and the hope that in a short while, normal life will return. School districts are making sure the families who rely on school-supplied breakfasts and lunches don’t go hungry, and even sending bus drivers to deliver food and assignments to families without access or transportation.
Kids are getting in on the action, drawing positive messages in chalk on driveways and sidewalks to lighten the mood of daily walkers. Some even leave out surplus school and art supplies so other kids who need them can help themselves. Volunteers still meet, gloves on hands and face masks in place, to pack and deliver bags of food for those struggling in the community. Now more than ever, people want to make sure no one is forgotten.
Regular people collect simple items like gloves, hand sanitizer, and cleaning supplies and donating to first responders, and countless others sew masks for healthcare workers, senior centers, and others who need them. Fitness instructors have taken to YouTube, helping us stay healthy during isolation, whether we like yoga, cardio, or even hula hoop fitness workouts. Museums, zoos, and aquariums are online too, sharing their creatures, collections, and wealth of knowledge while we stay at home.
And in this extended time apart, when social distancing is the norm, people have come up with different ways to show they care. A friend and her kids made batches of cookies and delivered care packages in mailboxes as a special surprise. In another neighborhood, families placed items in front-facing windows to help create a social-distance appropriate “I spy” hunt for kids to view from the sidewalk. Teens help celebrate friends’ birthdays as part of an informal parade, where participants drive slowly by the homes of lucky birthday teens, honking horns in cars decked out with hand made greetings. Friends even plan happy hour get-togethers on social media to toast the end of another week in isolation, together.
People are using their skills and abilities to make an anxious time a little less scary for those around them, and in the midst of the chaos, we’ve all embraced more kindness. As we rejoin in community adjusting to this new normal, let’s remember to keep being helpers and sharing our light in the coming days of change.