Not Doing Anything is Doing Everything

One of my favourite persons is Fred McFeely Rogers, otherwise know as Mr. Rogers from Mr. Rogers’ Neighbourhood. One of my favourite quotes from him is as follows:

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

Today, the Nova Scotia Government declared a State of Emergency in response to COVID-19. Well, emergency is a word that makes everyone listen. The alarm bells go off in our head… It makes us think something is wrong. And in this case, something is wrong. How can we make our kids understand this when we cannot, ourselves, completely understand what is happening and know what to do? The thing is… we do know what to do. We do know how to make this stop and make it less scary. Public Health has been giving us ideas all along. This is the message we need our kids to hear. They need to be engaged in a conversation that gives them a sense of control, an idea of what they can do (not what they cannot do), and ideas that engage them and create hope.

Our kids are going to be a part of history that they will talk about. So, let’s give them something to talk about. What did they do? Let’s help them create their own story about how they won – what did they do to defeat COVID-19?

Imagine for a moment from a child’s perspective what this must feel like. March break trips cancelled, parents not going to work, staying inside a lot, having siblings who are bugging them more than usual, more screen time which can make them more irritated and anxious, and we can go on and on. Every parent and family knows what this looks like because you are living it. Your own fears and stress compounded by trying to make everything seem OK for your children – this is really tough. It’s OK to say “This is tough.” and to acknowledge what you are feeling. It is OK to cry and feel sad. Acknowledging how you feel is a way to be kind to yourself. This then allows you to be better for everyone around you. Take care of YOU, so you can take care of your kids and family. This is my most important piece of advice to you.

Listen to Mr. Rogers. Today, in this time and day of crisis in our world, we need to find the helpers, be the helpers, and engage our kids in being helpers in any way they can. Right now, a lot of kids are not doing their normal activities. Instead, they are staying inside, not seeing friends, not going swimming or skating, missing music lessons, and not having sleepovers – even with their grandparents. Their ability and willingness to do this and a lot more is what they are doing to help. Please tell them that!!!! Doing this is hard for them. Let’s praise them for their efforts!!!

This is an important ongoing conversation. Please let me know what questions you need to be answered, and I will continue to provide information so everyone can feel secure and safe.

Please be kind to yourself and each other, and remain hopeful. We are all in this together. I will send along some more information tomorrow.

Be kind. Wash your hands. Get outside in your own neighbourhood – but keep your physical distance.

– Dr. Pure