As COVID-19 spreads, fear is everywhere. But are there benefits too?
People talk about impending infrastructure collapse, financial pressures, social distancing. Dinner conversations circle around to heavy questions daily.
Will our entire economic system need a bailout? Will my job still be there when this is over? Will the food in my pantry last? Will I survive this sudden catapult into homeschooling? Will I ever be able to buy more toilet paper?
States and counties and cities are mandating limitations that few Americans alive today have ever experienced. And that can feel scary.
But not all the changes are negative.
If we look for it, we can find good hidden everywhere. Here are four positive potential results we can benefit from despite the current crisis:
1 - We have family time again.
Whether we like it or not, families are being forced to connect with each other and spend time together again. We have a chance to maximize intentional quality interaction, increased communication, and purposeful engagement with our spouses, kids, and housemates.
This might look like:
- putting away the electronics and pulling out dusty board games.
- cooking together and sitting down for family dinner every night instead of once or twice a month.
- reading books out loud together in the evenings and discussing thoughts and reactions.
- simply conversing and talking together, hearing each other’s thoughts, and listening to the people we love the most.
If you’re sheltering in an abusive home, it’s important to adjust your safety plan to include possible increased tension and danger. Being stuck in an abusive home may feel like a negative unless it creates an opportunity for you to go ahead and seek true safety by leaving. In that case, it might actually become a positive in the long term.
2 - Our kids are getting their childhood back.
With schools out, daycares closed, and extracurricular programs shut down, children are getting a hard reset on overpacked schedules. Kids have time to play again, uninterrupted by the usual frenzy of appointments and performance-based activities.
It’s crucial to pay close attention to our kids’ online activity and use electronic devices as babysitters as little as possible. Phones, tablets, and computers can seem like tempting solutions, but they’re also easy sources of exploitation and harm.
Social distancing may be impacting the shape of your child’s schedule but it can also be a season of adventure and fond memories. It can be a season of blanket forts and Legos and storybooks that you’re always too busy to read under normal circumstances.
Kids are suddenly free to rediscover unstructured outdoor play and imaginative exploration — something even the World Health Organization says they’ve collectively needed for a long, long time.
3 - We’re rediscovering kinder, slower living.
People far and wide are rediscovering the meaningful impact of slow conversation and small kindnesses.
One friend broke up with his girlfriend just before sheltering-at-home was mandated in our state. Another friend found out and offered to bring him a home-cooked dinner, just to cheer him up.
Another friend was out shopping and scored the last pack of toilet paper, and then saw an elderly gentleman staring sadly at the empty shelves. Moved by the longing on his face, they placed their precious pack into the old man’s cart and then basked in his smile of relief and appreciation.
In my neighborhood, people have never seen so many residents out walking in the early evenings as there are right now. They may be standing 6 feet apart, but they’re chatting more and smiling much more.
4 - Work at home parents are going to have more options.
Businesses which have been refusing to maximize technology to allow remote employees are going to realize, “oh hey, we can let our employees effectively work from home!” or else our business is going to die.
I foresee it somewhat like a commercial forest fire — only the giants and the seeds will remain. But those that make it through will stay alive either because they’re strong, or they’re fresh. This will clear out space in the congested corporate world for innovative, intuitive solutions.
Why is this important to you as a parent?
Because it’s going to mean a new norm, with a LOT more flex built in for working from home. This is great news for parents, especially single parents who often desperately need flexible employment arrangements.
All in all, the impact of how we manage COVID-19's changes can bring good, healthy benefits — as long as we look for the positive that is all around us.