There is absolutely no question that our current reality is a now normal. One month ago, nobody would have ever thought that we would have to physically distance ourselves from family, friends and colleagues; that we would have to be super vigilant with handwashing and sanitizing frequently touched surfaces to the extent that medical experts are now requiring. Every bit of broadcasted and written news is focused on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Global Pandemic and how it is wreaking havoc on every community around the world. 

Although not all citizens are taking this deadly illness as seriously as they ought to be, most people are. Self-isolation and adhering to the recommendations and directions from Alberta Health and other government authorities needs to be everyone’s number one priority. These people are the experts in the field, going to all ends of the earth to provide us the safest and healthiest environment, and we need to follow their direction. 

While this pandemic crisis is a temporary and worrisome scenario, we will undoubtedly get through it all. It is through stressful situations and unfortunate experiences that our resilience is built, moving us to become a stronger people. I suspect that for many of us, when we look back on all of this turmoil and commotion, we might not even give it much thought, or even remember specific details about COVID-19. 

We don’t need to look far to see the number of beautiful and uplifting stories and random acts of kindness that we have witnessed amidst this crisis. People are volunteering to make care packages for affected citizens and providing donations to charitable organizations. Offering to shop and run errands for neighbours or shut-ins and finding creative and innovative ways of reaching out to friends and families. All of this clearly speaks to our calling to be our brother’s keeper. 

It is well known that strong faith is a significant coping mechanism and can assist people in adapting their lives after a highly stressful life event. Faith helps us better understand these stressors and utilizing our faith assists in the management of the stress itself. There is no question that when we turn to prayer, God is there with us.

Once all the anxiety, worry and uncertainty settle from this world pandemic and things return to a relative degree of normalcy, trust and hope will remain. Where there is life, hope abides – hope in and for the future. We must trust in this new way of being, with a watchful eye to always do the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do. In general, we will have learned a great deal from this turmoil but perhaps most specifically that we will be educating our students with profoundly different approaches and pedagogies. Regardless, let us move forward with our collective wisdom; holding our heads high and looking to tomorrow with optimism, trust and hope.

Written for the Lethbridge Herald’s “Eye on Education” – April 1, 2020