Boy, people seem to be learning lots and lots of lessons during these troubling times of pandemic lockdown, if the number of blog posts on this topic are anything to go by. It’s also a question that’s starting to annoy more and more people, again, if the number of blog posts on their annoyance is anything to go by. I was going to let it pass, but after a few such posts this morning, including one by a long-time blogging friend who didn’t answer the question himself but instead asked what his readers thought, I decided to give it a go.
I haven’t had to learn how challenging it is to work in healthcare or other frontline work where I have to get up every day and worry about whether I’m going to get infected myself or bring the infection home to my family.
I haven’t had to learn how challenging it is to suddenly switch to teaching by virtual learning instead of in-class teaching, having to figure out how to present the material well and also keep my students engaged.
I haven’t had to learn how to be part of an administration team that has to help lead a university in shutting everything down, wondering when we will be able to reopen and how we will be able to have enough students to keep the doors open and the bills paid when that happens.
I haven’t had to learn how to work from home and at the same time homeschool young kids and keep them entertained while they’re separated from their friends.
I sure haven’t had to learn where the food bank is for the first time in my life or learn how to beg with my landlord to forgive this month’s rent – and next month’s.
As a retired person who doesn’t have any of these immediate and stressful concerns, my lessons thus far during this global pandemic are more in the form of learning things that I knew or suspected at one level but had never ever wanted to see confirmed with such intensity.
- I’ve learned/relearned that it’s easy to be a leader when the economy is humming along and you can take credit for the successes.
- I’ve learned/relearned in spades that being a leader whose job is to look out for your country and your fellow citizens (or your company/university/etc. and your employees/students/etc.) when things get tough requires competence, compassion, character, communication, and collaboration. It requires making decisions that are in the best interests of all your citizens (or staff/students/etc.), regardless of how tough or unpopular these decisions may seem. It requires listening to the experts, early and often. It requires putting the needs of all citizens first rather than partisan politics and self-interest. It requires working collaboratively with all Parties and in partnership with other countries.
- I’ve learned that Canada’s leaders can rise to the occasion in a crisis. I am proud of how responsibly Canada’s leaders at all levels have responded to this unprecedented global pandemic.
- We have learned that long term care homes everywhere need to be reorganized to ensure that the high levels of deaths in these homes never happen again, where our most vulnerable are inadvertently made even more vulnerable by virtue of being in care. Governments must ensure that standards and accountability take precedence over the bottom line. And that includes standards of care and quality of life, not just safety.
- We have learned that people who work in frontline occupations – the ones who have ensured our needs are met at a risk to their own lives – must be paid a decent wage. This includes long term care home workers.
- Societies’ socioeconomic and racial divides have been painfully highlighted for all to see. Nobody of voting age in any country should vote for candidates whose policies do not strive to change these shameful inequalities.
- We’ve learned that often the “ordinary” people are smarter and more compassionate than their leaders. Many are staying home until they feel it is safe for themselves and for others, regardless of what their leaders say.
- We have learned that social media and the Internet are crucial. Social media may be abused and overused, but it has allowed and continues to allow millions upon millions of friends and loved ones to stay in easy touch, see each other live on screens, keep working, keep studying, go to the doctor, etc. Think about a pandemic with no Internet!
- My heart goes out to those who are suffering through this pandemic: the sick, the newly bereaved, the young people whose lives are now on hold, people with no money, people in abusive homes, … the list is a long one.
- I am blessed to be free of financial concerns, and to have a safe, comfortable home that I share with my safe, comfortable husband. I have had that reaffirmed. As this cartoon says, being able to spend time thinking about lessons learned that are about more than survival is in itself an example of class privilege.
- I have learned that I am surprisingly comfortable to spend so much time at home. My introverted self has taken over. And blogging helps!
How about you? Have you learned anything new about yourself? About your country or region? About the world?