My neighbor Cora — a retired teacher — called me while I was driving to the office earlier today to remind me that she wants to take me out to dinner sometime. We’ve talked about going out together, but we’ve never gotten around to coordinating a time. As she was about to get off the phone, she said, “I love you. You’re such a good neighbor!” And I told her that I loved her, too. I wonder how upset the racists of the unquestioned Jim Crow world — only about six decades ago — would have been that a white man and his elderly black neighbor care abut each other in such a way. There’s still a lot wrong with racial attitudes in the world today, but small things such as this remind me that we’ve come a long way.
If you have children, it’s important to deal with how they might be feeling as they react to the fears of COVID-19 as the danger grows. There’s a lot of fear among adults right now, but children are even less equipped to handle fears they sense from adults around them. My friend Josh Whitman has experience doing a lot of things and one of them is school administration. Josh and his wife are raising two young sons of their own in a Birmingham suburb, and he’s been thinking a lot for the last few weeks about how this societal fear affects children. He’s written a short article giving some wise and insightful tips with concrete steps you can take to help your children during this time of crisis — things which might not have occurred to me — so I highly recommend it.
Times of crisis can teach us a lot about ourselves, if we’re willing to pay attention. The coronavirus pandemic right now is a good opportunity to learn from something terrible. A lot of people are scared at the moment and it’s hard to blame them, because it’s impossible to say how much worse things might get and who might be hit. But who do your thoughts turn to right now? Who’s on your mind? Who do you worry about? If you’ll pay attention to these questions — and answer honestly — you’ll tell yourself a lot about who you really love. Even if I can’t protect those few who I worry about, I know where my thoughts are. I know who I wish I could run away with to somewhere safe. I know who I wish I could protect. I know who I love. It’s a good exercise to reflect on this.