I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to be a young kid in all of this craziness that is 2020 so far. There’s a lot of responsibility when it comes to being a parent or caretaker of children, including the responsibility to explain some of the more difficult things in life to them. We get to (try to) explain things like Heaven and hell and faith, getting old, dying young, cancer, grades, money, and where the whole chicken-and-egg debate came from (and what the answer is).
And we get asked big questions about all we see/hear in the news like guns killing people or why it is wrong to call people by certain terms or why there are refugees. Using the gun/killing question, while the mechanics of how guns kill people or even some of the hard and cold facts of why people kill people (money, anger, accidents etc.), are things you can more or less explain to kids, it’s a lot harder to explain the heart or mind behind it, especially if we don’t understand (or it isn’t able to be explained).
And now we’re faced with a new challenge of trying to explain why we can’t touch each other, can’t go out and do our usual activities like go to school and get our hair cut and play on the playground, after doing exactly that for many generations. Maybe kids who have very ill family members can understand better, but thankfully most people aren’t in that situation, so most can’t understand or explain why a touch or activity that used to be OK is now not.
There have been some exercises videoed to show how easy it is to pass this virus along, using an old pre-pandemic example, think about that commercial with the dad with the light that reveals the “invisible” orange dust from fellow family members including the cat that he didn’t know they had who have eaten all of his snacks. So yes, on one level we can explain how it works, but there’s a whole lot about it that no one really knows yet, and we may never have all the answers. It’s hard to say that in this day and age with the internet and so many things being explainable or able to be captured on camera/audio that you just don’t know and no one really does.
In some ways, being faced with this virus and all the lack of knowledge is a good exercise in humility and keeping us humble. In this world where it seems like it’s possible to be good at just about anything with a little effort, research and/or money, it’s important to remember from time to time that we’re all still very human. Personally I look forward to getting back to trying to explain unicorns and how the color of the sky got the name it has. How are you helping kids navigate this time?