I started this ponderning a couple of weeks ago as I was thinking about the changes happening in and around the island, and beyond in Canada, with regards to life with the COVID-19. How does one act? How does one move forward? I have been thinking of the word change and adapting in relation to people.
Change is difficult. It is really hard to change peoples minds I have learned. Working in education for many years and having the wondrous opportunity to work with numerous teachers and leaders at a board level, not everyone likes to look at things from different perspectives. When things work they work. And education, by its very nature, albeit not always received well, is about change and adapting and refining. Yet, resistance to change takes place. So how does one approach changing people’s minds or habits or behaviours? Not by force…nope. Not by begging…nope. Not with a carrot…nope. But with knowledge, information, real talk…lots and lots and lots of it. I have always found the old saying “if its not broken why fix it” quite interesting. Can you go through life without changing at all?? I mean yes if something is working. Okay. But at the same time, like anything else, there could always be another lens to look from…a slight shifting….a shuffle even.
Getting someone to change their mind or way of being is not as easy as it would seem. Currently, the situation around the path and wake of COVID-19 has been huge in impacting change. Quickly, Promptly. Swiftly. Sometimes with little time to breathe. How many weeks of communication on social media and real actions by essential workers on the island to help people accept the seriousness of what is taking place; respond as a community for the safety and health of others? It’s like teaching an old dog new trick. I consider what Albert Bennett says as a thoughtful reminder that “any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.” There are growing pains, kind of creaky at times, to adapting.
The journey has been harrowing to say the least, upending thoughts and ways of thinking and being. Now, the communication offers hope in the darkness…opening up a bit to allow Canadian visitors who own seasonal cottages to come in. Oh my. What does that even mean? And hearing that the island is in a position to allow a few more people to come visit one’s home or have a few more to gather, outside of own family dwelling. Big move. The moving forward, ready to greet a new normal; finding a way back home (or new back home).
Gratefully, here on the island, we are in a hopeful place where we have no new cases of the virus (nor any active cases) for a few weeks now. Woohoo!! I can only imagine the sense of relief as we get a glimmer of possibility both personally and professionally as the Premier, staff, and Public Health Officer collectively make decisions and send communications to assist us in living more ‘normally’ in moving forward. The word ‘normal’ has certainly taken on a relative flavour of late, as I am coming to realize. What we have on the island is not necessarily happening in other parts of Canada never mind globally. I truly count my blessings.
How to move forward? I think my brain is like a toggling acrobat wrestling with fear and hope. Social media can play havoc with the heart and mind as it bombards me with all kinds of information. What to believe? I am not sure human beings always adapt to change well nor respond to ‘no’ or ‘can’t’ in a positive way. And then once you move to adapt to a new way of thinking and behaving, now being asked to adapt again and proceed how. ‘No’ and ‘can’t’ turn into ‘proceed with caution’. My fear is the ‘proceed’ might be like a nascar driver – 0 to 150 kph.
Can you not hear the mind toggle?…can I go to the movies? No. Can I go and hang out with my friends? No. Can I visit my grannie? No. Can I go to the park? No. Can I go fishing? No. Can I go to the mall? No. Can I go downtown? Uptown? Anywhere???? No.No. NO. Can I? Can I? Can I? What can I do? But if I do get to go somewhere… did I wash my hands? Did I stay 6 feet away? Did I touch the pump handle? Did I get too close? Did I sneeze or rub my eyes or touch my face? Did I go to work, come home, put clothes in wash, have shower/disinfect? Did I? Did I? Did I? One can almost go loopy with can I and did I?
Walking in the shoes of the Premier and Public Health Officer? I cannot begin to fathom the juggling. Is there not a saying that suggests… before you judge a man (person), walk a mile in his shoes. I wanted to know where that statement came from and I believe it came from Mary T. Lathrap poem (1895) Judge Softly. I love the title and the message in it. I can only imagine what it would be like to be making decisions on an almost daily basis, telling people something that is so out of their realm of understanding and control. And yet for the safety and well being of the island community, the Premier and P.H.O. have to do what they have to do.
I wonder how the essential workers feel at this time. Because they have been in the trenches from the get go. They have lived the urgency by the way they have had to act, talk, respond, behave, plan. Not the same for me in that way and I am coming to realize that I do not have the same appreciation to moving forward because it is about being cautious. It is not a ‘been there, done that; next’ kind of moving forward.
Being respectful of where people are coming from even though I have not walked in their sandals, boots, shoes, heels…because another change is coming. Can anyone remember pre-COVID-19? Ahhhh, the good ol’ days.
Blessings this day.
Let us pray for those in need and the strength and courage to move forward together in support and care for all.