We all know our world is changed right now. Nothing is normal. But the big question I think a lot of us have is how will this time change us forever? There’s no doubt historians will look back on 2020 and the global pandemic and connect certain cultural trends to this time in our history.
During an interview with author Stephen King on NPR this week, he stated it this way – that someday his grandchildren would have children, and when they told their parents they were bored, their parents would say: “Bored? Bored? You have no idea what boring is. You didn’t live through the global pandemic when we had to stay inside for weeks (maybe months). Stop whining and go play outside!”
In the same way that our generation references where we were and how we felt after 9/11, our kids will never forget this time in their history and it will shape them. My hope is that there are some silver linings. I hope they will remember positive times with their family. I hope they will have developed new love and appreciation for the outdoors, and possibly for other things like cooking or reading. The one thing that I am concerned about is that they will develop a fear of interacting with others.
Will we go to large sporting events again? If so, when? Will we go to concerts again? Will we feel comfortable? How soon will it be before people feel comfortable getting on airplanes? All of these things used to be normal, and my guess is that they will eventually be normal again, but with new parameters that maybe we can’t even foresee right now.
So, as we move forward, handling the current crisis, we need to think about what happens when we are past the emergency. How do we help our kids adjust to a new normal, and hold onto those lessons, those silver linings, that will help define their personal history for the rest of their lives.
Like 9/11, they will always remember where they were during the COVID-19 crisis of 2020. Let’s hope they remember more of the good, less of the bad, and that they use the lessons learned to create a new normal, a new culture, where we appreciate more of what we have, lament less of what we don’t have, and treat each other with kindness and respect knowing that there are no guarantees of a safe, perfect world. But now that we know a lot of the stuff we thought was important really isn’t, maybe we can work towards a better world for all people, especially our children.
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.