My dad turns 75 at the end of this month. I had book tickets to fly to Canada with my young son to celebrate with him and my brothers. We’d been planning to see some other family and friends too. We were excited for a trip together, just the two of us. And of course, there was maple syrup to bring home. And the virus came and took it all away.
It’s not easy explaining our current global situation to a 6 year old who likes to ask why. However, at one point in our conversation about cancelling the trip, I said we’d try again in the summer or autumn. He looked me in the eyes saying, ‘will it be over then? What if it isn’t? What if this changes things forever and we’re never able to see Grandpa again?’
6 year olds can be extreme at times, but it did make me think. I realised I’ve assume these social distancing measures to last for a month or two not 6 or 12. And yes, even in a month or two our communities will be changed. Yes, there will likely be a baby boom in 9 months, but there could also be a spike in divorce rates, domestic abuse, and other negative reactions.
But if it is 6 or 12, the change will likely be globally massive. We might rediscover ‘local’ – walks, our neighbours, local shops, and so on. Or we might build walls and do everything online. The organisations we work with or for will likely change – will our view of offices change when we work from home? How many businesses and organisations will close down? Will our way of structuring organisations and businesses change? Will our models of education be changed forever?
6 year olds often ask good questions. Ones that require thoughtful answers. If this goes on for 6-12 months, how will you cope, be changed? What opportunities does it present for you?