A picture doesn’t always have to have a caption,
does it. . . ?
could have many captions
one might be:
MANY HANDS; ONE WORLD
or would it be
THE WORLD IN OUR HANDS
or would it be
RESPONDERS US, ONE IN ALL
We’re all first responders amid coronavirus, armed with kindness, compassion and empathy. . .
Mark Brennan, Dana Winters and Pat Dolan, Opinion contributors from USA TODAY have basically reported what really needs no captioning right now for the picture of our World. . .
Fred Rogers said heroes are those who take responsibility. He also said ‘deep and simple’ acts are most meaningful. We should take his words to heart. . .
“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say, ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.”—Fred Rogers
We are now fully feeling the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. In previous weeks perhaps it seemed imaginary, but now we are faced with a new very daunting reality. As the scope of pandemic becomes evident and our daily lives are increasingly altered, the absolute need for us to act heroically with empathy, kindness and compassion is ever present.
Through our research and professional experience, we know one key thing: In times of emergency, providing empathy, kindness and compassion to our fellow citizens is the single most important factor in surviving the initial stages of disaster, limiting suffering, protecting the vulnerable, and quickly recovering in the aftermath of the crisis.
As we have seen, this epidemic is bringing out the best, and worst, in us. At its worst, we are witnessing people speaking out as fear, frustration, uncertainly and massive disruptions to our daily routines grow. With these we see increases in victim blaming, intolerance, hostility, and at its very worst, violence stoked by racism and the promotion of xenophobic beliefs. We saw recent examples in London, New York and elsewhere.
We are all first responders
This frightening and uncertain environment also exacerbates social isolation, particularly of the most vulnerable within our society, the old, the ill, the very young and the socially marginalized. The social and psychological toll of this is, and will be, massive.
In the face of a global pandemic, we as individuals are the first responders. Thankfully, we are also seeing inspirational acts — examples of the world sharing responsibility for and with one another, and people giving support to others in their communities even in the face of social-distancing, quarantine and fear.
In a movement across social media, educators of all levels are reaching out to families to offer expertise and assistance in their sudden new responsibility to home-school their children. Countless posts offer caregivers help in content areas such as math, reading, and science.
Laura Ryan does a chalk art message on March 21, 2020 in Swoyersville, Pa. as neighbor Lindsey Stewart watches with her son Seth, 2. (Photo: Dave Scherbenco, AP)
In a Tennessee retirement community under quarantine, a son worried about the well-being of his mother and her friends. He turned that worry into action when he brought his guitar and sat outside the windows, serenading the residents who watched through their screens or stood on their balconies. Some sang along, some just listened, but they all felt a sense of connection to the music and each other. Taran and Calliope Tienof Columbus, Ohio, ages 9 and 6 respectively, are providing impromptu concerts for their self-isolating elderly neighbors.
An Irwin, Pennsylvania window-washing company recently advertised “free grocery pickup & delivery for seniors” on a billboard outside its headquarters, and it’s been fielding calls for help ever since. Similarly, Nevada college student Jayde Powell organized “shopping angels” to collect food, prescriptions, and necessary supplies for the elderly, limiting their possible exposure to the coronavirus. The idea has spread across the country and the Nevada group’s GoFundMe account on Monday was more than a third of the way to its $100,000 goal.
Erin leaves notes on our mail box every day for the mail man;
as a way to say
without the words
a c t i o n s
. . .actions
that can come from any one of us
not just once
or once in a while
and then repeated
u n e n d i n g l y. . .
These acts of kindness, compassion and empathy continue to grow across the world, and will grow far faster than any seeds of division if we commit to making them more important than hatred or fear.
‘Deep and simple’ acts are essential
Sometimes the world can look so big that it is hard to know where to start to show kindness, compassion and empathy. It is times like this when the words of humanitarian and children TV presenter and educator the late Fred Rogers ring true: “The deep and simple is far more essential than the shallow and complex.” Even the simplest acts of kindness, compassion and empathy are felt so deeply in times of uncertainty. No act is too simple, no moment too small, to bring comfort and healing. Now is a chance for all of us to act heroically.
You have the ability and opportunity to ease the fear of children and others by talking to them about what this crisis and ensuring them that scientists and doctors are going to fix this. You have the ability help ensure the health of the elderly by shopping for them to limit their potential exposure, while talking routinely with them to help them feel less isolated and alone. You can challenge victim blaming and hateful speech when you hear it. You can donate time, money, food and your skills to support any need in your community.
These are but a few small examples. What is important is that you look for opportunities to demonstrate empathy and kindness, and act on them.
Finally, we look back to history. Faced with war, disease, disaster, terrorism and other threats, those we remember for making a difference are those who showed compassion, kindness, and empathy to fellow human beings in their greatest hours of need. These qualities are at the core of our humanity and our capacity to respond and recover from this current crisis.
Together, and supported by each other, we will get through this. . .
We are literally showing the greatest way to get out of Hell
IS THROUGH IT. . .
so we do
. . .we do
one step at a time
and we do it best
HAND IN HAND
(and it may never require touching but it’ll always mean reaching)