I am a lifelong asthmatic. That’s probably my mother’s fault, since folks didn’t know in the late 1960s that smoking a pack (daily) of Benson & Hedges might affect your unborn child.
I’ve lived with diabetes for a decade, along with high blood pressure and cholesterol issues for which I require daily medication. Those problems are my own fault. After all, I’ve always believed that fried is a food group. Not to mention, watermelon-flavored Jolly Ranchers and Lemonhead candies have been my go-to for longer than I can remember.
Yet, I go about my business — socially distanced and with a mask. I wash my hands too, but that’s nothing new since I’m a lifelong germaphobe.
Like most others, I frequent the local grocery store, gas station and my workplace. Despite the real statistics that involve diagnoses, illnesses and even deaths, I seem to see more and more people who appear to be in denial.
I’m not political in my beliefs and actions. In fact, I’m the most centrist person that I know. Yet, during a weekend visit to my local H.E.B., I noticed several people brazenly shopping with nary a mask.
“Trump people,” I thought. At some point, they were led to believe that masks were wrong … that the U.S. Constitution didn’t require protecting one’s inhale and exhale. And I was likely correct. It’s true that our president has effectively been in denial about this pandemic, if only because of the many gatherings he has organized in lieu of medically based warnings against such.
But there are others.
I work with people whose jobs require them to do their jobs in person. Most of them follow the rules by masking up, keeping their distance from others and sanitizing their hands to the point of being constantly chapped. Despite these preventatives, the risks remain.
Many of these same people take care of medically fragile elders. And though they seem nervously content about their own daily routines, they insist that their school-aged children play by different rules as virtual learners.
The statistics are real. Children who are being schooled virtually are failing as a whole.
Sure, some virtual students are passing their courses. Some are even acing their lessons. But many of them are also missing out on the all-so-important socialization that goes along with traditional school. So too are many children suffering mental anguish throughout this ordeal. Pick your search engine and source: depression and mental anxiety among children is way up since this time last year.
Where are our priorities?
Of course, most of us put health and safety and the top of our list. That’s totally understandable. But, if we are willing to follow the rules and work in-person, what do we expect to accomplish by not insisting that our children do the same — by masking up, keeping clean … and not hugging everyone during the passing periods?
Fact is, most of us are guilty of mingling with co-workers. We find their familiarity comfortable, after all. But many of us also rub plenty of elbows — as inadvertently as it may be — at the supermarket, gas station, and even at our mailboxes (When’s the last time you wore gloves to check your mail?).
The only way to be (arguably) truly safe is total solitude … all of us.
But if health and safety are your concerns in a world where co-mingling is expected, should you not expect the same from your children as you work to experience every day?
Do they not deserve such important life lessons from us?