What I Hope My Children Learn from these Uncertain Times

Social distancing allows children to learn a valuable lesson, maybe one of the most important lessons of their childhood. Read more.

By Maureen Fernandez, Content Director | Mar 17, 2020
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As I write this, my family is practicing “social distancing”, a recommended practice from medical experts. We cancelled our spring break vacation and are instead spending our time isolated from other people. We’re mostly spending time at home, in our yard or on walks through the neighborhood.

First and foremost, the ability to practice “social distancing” is a privilege that not all people have. Many people have to work, interact with others or cannot stay home. My heart goes out to all of these people, many of whom I imagine would trade their situation for the chance to stay home. For me, this becomes a responsibility of those of us who do have privilege to stay home and avoid contact with others, even though it may come with significant inconvenience.

But there’s another advantage to staying home. Social distancing allows children to learn a valuable lesson, maybe one of the most important lessons of their childhood: people are taking radical measures to protect others.



Related: How to Talk to Children About Coronavirus



This global act of compassion is unprecedented, at least in my lifetime. We’ve never seen individuals, organizations, schools, corporations and entire industries shut down. While decisions are being calculated based on the latest science and updates from around the world, the primary reason for all of it is prevention – prevention of harm to individuals.

The fact that in many ways, parts of the world have stopped spinning to protect our fellow human beings is radical. The fact that people are cancelling vacations, staying home from work, avoiding restaurants and movie theaters, cancelling dinner plans and date nights, even weddings, bar mitzvahs and parties – this is all radical. This is individuals saying, “We care enough about humanity to stay home. We are willing to be inconvenienced to protect people who are most vulnerable.” It is a precious reminder that human beings are all interconnected.

Years from now, when this is all settled down, I hope my children remember this moment in time. Not for the missed vacation, the weeks out of school, the cabin fever or the lack of playdates. I hope they remember that they played a role in protecting our most vulnerable members of society. That when the moment came, they took the inconvenience and stayed home. But not just them, millions of other people did the same thing. Society stopped and said, “We care about people – even people we don’t know – enough to make hard choices to protect them.” There is a lot of uncertainty in this moment in time. But this precious reminder is the most important thing I hope my children keep with them in the years to come.


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