Our daughter seems to be handling this coronavirus pandemic really well. As we are worried sick about what will happen, she is upbeat. It’s like she has been through this bummer before and she knows that there is nothing to be afraid of.
I think that, as parents and grownups, there is a lot that we can learn from our children on how to handle a global pandemic. The fear-mongers are all grownups.
If and when you hear a child spreading fear at this time, they are most probably parroting what they heard from an adult and an authority figure.
Since the coronavirus was declared a pandemic, I have different things from different folks. Some of the best lessons I have learnt have come from my daughter.
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A child’s confession
“Daddy,” my daughter surprised the other day, “this pandemic shall end.”
Pudd’ng spoke like she was the head of the World Health Organisation.
“How do you know that it shall end?” I shot back, and immediately regretted shooting from the hip without thinking.
“Aren’t you the one who keeps saying that tough times don’t last, but that tough people do?” she recited the words that I keep telling her when we are in a tight spot.
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Sometimes we need to hear the reassuring words from children’s mouths to snap us out of our reverie. It’s strange that, when I needed them most, I forgot the lessons that I have been teaching my daughter about the temporariness of tough situations. That is how a child’s confession put me back in the right frame of mind.
I am relearning that I need to have positive confessions, even though the facts, figures and images that are coming from around the world are alarming.
A child’s attitude
When the health authorities said that citizens should wash and disinfect their hands to stem the spread of the coronavirus, Pudd’ng reminded me of the lessons of about two years ago.
At that time, a soap company visited their school and taught them the importance of washing hands to stop the spread of infections like cholera. “People should always be washing their hands and not wait for a disease to start doing what they are supposed to do,” Pudd’ng taught me the lessons they were taught years ago.
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“And this is the hand washing soap that we should buy,” Pudd’ng kept insisting when we did our monthly shopping.
At that time, when my daughter kept washing her hands and advised us to follow suit and when she was particular on the soap we should buy, I thought she was taking it too far. I did it just so she get off my case. Now I do it because, if I don’t, I’m damned. And Pudd’ng looks at me like, “Who’s wiser now?”
A child’s TLC
“When there is a lockdown, what will happen to those who are less fortunate and do not have food?” Pudd’ng asked.
“We will have to do as The Bible says and love our neighbours as we love ourselves,” my wife replied.
I know. That’s easier said than done. As it is, many of us are facing tough economic times. This pandemic is pouring oil on a raging fire.
For many of us, especially city slickers, our mantra is, “Everyone for himself and God for us all.” Which means that I can buy the entire supermarket and watch as my next-door neighbour dies – not of coronavirus, per se – but of its effect like loss of a job that leads to penury.
If we have the tender loving care of a child, we use this pandemic to lead us to be kinder and better humans.