A Silver Lining to Covid
OK, so I realise I live in a small beachside suburb in Sydney and the effects and the suffering of Covid, have not hit us like so many people in other countries, but I have witnessed first-hand some of the good things that have come from this whole pandemic. I am a teacher who has continued to work as an essential worker throughout this lockdown period. Looking after children whose families are also essential workers and others who felt they were a better parent if they had some reprieve throughout the day so chose to send to preschool.
Does it even seem possible that there could be a silver lining to this disaster? I am specifically talking about our families, family life and the re connection of all within this. There is a side to this isolation, that has created a shift in values within our family units - firstly because it was forced upon us, but now, seeing the results, I’m sure there are some who would happily learn from and keep some of their new found routines.
Yes, we have had to adjust and adapt, changing almost our whole routines which are the very reason we feel safe and secure BUT has it been all bad?
I feel as if I am witnessing a return to some simple, old fashioned values. I never thought of myself as old but can remember some of these good old-fashioned ways of life that have returned during this time of isolation. Some may disagree with this ‘positive’ spin but remember I am only talking about family life in general. There are always going to be the sad and harrowing stories of family violence because of the situation we have been placed in, but I am a pre-school teacher and wanted you to see things through my rose-coloured glasses of rainbows and unicorns for just one moment.
If only we could cling on to some of the values that are providing such positive impacts within the family unit after the isolation is all over.
No commute to work is giving a lot of us an extra 2 hours per day. It’s enabling us to witness what is happening at breakfast and dinner time, seeing our children wake up and begin their day, which normally would have been spent in a car, bus or train. Connecting with our children in what may seem mundane routines, but so important to establish calm, healthy, independent children.
No rushing. The frantic family is a real phenomenon. Mum feeling like a taxi driver and making sure our children do not miss out on all the things we feel are essential to their well being. Well not having any of these pressures has given us time to talk, sit, relax, play and connect in a way that shows you value the people they are. These things are more important than trumpet lessons or dance class.
We have become a generation that because of the Frantic nature of the family, we take short cuts, take away is readily available and cheap, and getting through dinner is an achievement worthy of a medal. Now, one of the few outings is for food and supermarket shopping, whilst not something we were encouraged to do frequently, it has been a connection to the outside world. Time for shopping, meal prep, and making those all-important favourite dinners we had forgotten about. Good old-fashioned home cooking. Our children will benefit if only we can keep this up.
The family who plays together stays together. I have seen so many families walking, out at the park kicking a ball, bike riding in family groups. There is not much else to do outside the family home, so we have adjusted and with that has come enormous health benefits to parents and children. Physically and mentally. Open- ended free outdoor play. Not structured.
No shopping for material processions unless it is found in a supermarket. No clothes shopping, shoe shopping, pampering. Have we missed it? Maybe a little but did we actually need it? No.
We have been encouraged through media and news to keep an eye out for our neighbours, especially the elderly. I know I have, and all my friends also. The benefits work both ways. For us and our families it shows our children how to be kind and empathetic, but for the elderly is shows that we do all care and they are important people.
Also, young families who have placed a teddy bear or rainbow in their windows for children to spot when on their walk. A good old-fashioned treasure hunt.
Knowing what our children are doing, understanding how they adapt to change, how amazing they are on technology and we can learn from them. Also, the connections we have made through video conferencing with families and friends from close by but also interstate and overseas. I don’t think I could tell you a single soul who hasn’t had Friday afternoon video drinks catch ups.
My challenge is to you. Pick one things that has made your ‘family life’ change for the better and prioritise this into your routines when isolation and normal living return.