Someone is pulling on the breaks. The fast paced life-style that involves a constant rushing from one task to the next, causing us to feel like hamsters on a treadmill- constantly running, yearning to stop, is for many a distant memory. The monotony of working, school drop offs and pick ups, rushing to after-school clubs and preparing dinner, just to wake up and do it all over again. For many, a welcome break from the usual routine for our bodies, but our minds can struggle to adapt.
Daily routines that supply the motivation to get out of bed in the morning and provide us with a sense of purpose for our day, suddenly leave a void. A blank space. Time that we previously yearned for but could only dream of. Time that now allows our minds to wander and to think of things we had otherwise kept too busy to remember. A frightening and lonely time for many. For others, it is an opportunity for change- to embrace the new way of living and appreciate the natural things in life.
Outdoor space has never been such a precious commodity and the beauty of our surroundings- the flowers and wildlife are viewed through different lenses. Ones that don’t require a rose tint or a filter because we have the time and patience to see and appreciate their natural beauty. The yearning to absorb a different scene, new stimulus for our eyes. An extreme contrast to the intensity, stress and demands imposed on the key services, greater than ever before.
A new way of coping, surviving and enduring to ensure the wheels keep turning. Those craving excitement verses those too emotionally exhausted to seek change. Desire to hug our loved ones and a determination to keep loved ones alive in order to be hugged.
Social interaction presents non-contact as a new societal norm. Could this result in a generation that are less effectionate, tactile and emotionally visible? A culture that is also more resilient and adaptable to change? In times of uncertainty we embrace, endure and live with a new normal. A ‘normal’ that often paints a different picture and a generation that recognise the necessity for a completely new frame.
Bedrooms have become classrooms with any interaction and support via ‘virtual’ meetings, while others have been deprived of education entirely. For some, the brief return to school has seen altered classes and separation from friends. Social distancing from fellow pupils resembles the spacing out of children prior to an exercise session, swinging their arms horizontally to ensure there is enough room and nobody gets hurt. The religious manor that children line up to sanitise their hands according to the markers on the pavement, although necessary, can only be described as military. Despite all of this, our children still appear to be smiling.
Understandably, social opportunities and interactions with friends are missed and there are days when our children are sad, frustrated or bored, but this would be a natural occurrence in every day life anyway. The uncertainty of how long we will have to live with a ‘New Normal’, and how we are going to adapt our living appears much more of a concern to adults than children. Being separated from friends in classrooms, cancelling school trips, holidays and other social events have in the past caused such anxiety and stress that parents have raised concerns with teachers and children have looked deflated. Yet despite finding ourselves in more challenging times, many children appear to be unphased and resilient to the challenges. Could it be that when we are faced with a situation that is so far out of our control we have to rise to the challenge and deal with it as we have no alternative? It appears so.
Some of us find it difficult enough trying to persuade our children to wear a coat in the winter, or to put sun cream on in the summer, yet being told they must wear a face mask in shops they are surprisingly ok with. Many are missing their last day at school, leavers assemblies, parties, residential trips and summer youth clubs. Despite this, they have handled everything they have missed out on so maturely and with great resilience.
I think this just proves that although some situations, like the virus, can’t be changed, fortunately our attitudes towards it can.
The next generation are strong. Our Rainbow Children.
‘Children are not only innocent and curious but also optimistic and joyful and essentially happy. They are, in short, everything adults wish they could be’ ~Carolyn Haywood.