Keeping Calm Amidst the Coronavirus Chaos
Moms are often compared to bears, and if you’ve ever seen a momma bear with her cub, you understand the comparison. As moms, we try to protect our children from all kinds of outside forces that could potentially hurt them. And yeah, if you mess with one of my “cubs,” intentionally, you will likely face my wrath. But I also realize that there are some things in this world that are out of my control. And while I can do everything in my power to prepare and teach my kids, the end outcome isn’t something I can prevent.
I’ve always wanted the very best for my kids, and this includes my five hundred students. As a mom and educator, children are my focus and it is my daily goal to help grow them into productive humans. And I would never want to put any of them in any type of danger. So the dilemma I have been facing is what to do about my twelve-year-old son who is scheduled to fly out-of-state with my dad this weekend for an exciting trip to Florida. With all of the hype about the coronavirus, it’s vital for me to do what’s in the best interest of my child.
For me, I have to look at the big picture. Isaiah is traveling with my dad, who I trust. The trip was planned with the intent that the two of them could spend quality time with my aunt, uncle, and cousins who live in Florida. Their itinerary includes going to the beach, going fishing, going golfing, and maybe spending one day at a theme park. Getting out of the cold Michigan weather and having some time to relax was another added benefit. Isaiah and my dad have been looking forward to this day since the fall when we began planning.
So with less than a week before the plane takes off, do I cancel amid all the event and school closings? For me personally, the answer is no. Do I want my son, or my dad for that matter, to contract the virus? By all means, no. But I also know that there are certain things in life that are out of my control. To get to the airport, we will take a forty-minute drive on the expressway. What if we get in an accident on the way there? Once aboard the plane, besides the threat of germs, there is also a chance that the plane could crash. And once in Florida there are countless other unimaginable outside forces that could potentially take the lives of either my son or my dad. And what about myself and my other two kids at home? We will inevitably be putting ourselves at risk while they are away. Should we quarantine ourselves until the threat lessens? I mean, we will still have to leave the house to get groceries at the least.
And while I realize that the threat of contracting the virus is real, I have no power to predict or control how it affects my family or myself. What I do have power over is how I choose to react. I could choose to not allow Isaiah to visit Florida and keep him home. The pros of this choice are that he wouldn’t be exposed in Florida, but there are still cases in Michigan, so the potential continues even if he stays home. The pros of allowing Isaiah to go include that he will spend time with family that he rarely gets to see. He will have the opportunity to go to new places and make new memories with his family, but there is a possibility that some attractions he wants to go to will be closed and he will be exposed to more people from other areas of the country and possibly the world. For me, the choice is pretty simple. Isaiah wants to go, and I’m going to cautiously allow him to go.
I am, however, still a momma bear, so of course I will still make sure to remind him of good sanitary procedures. These are the exact same things that I stress with my own kiddos and my students at school anyway. And I know that there will be an inevitable eye roll from my twelve-year-old when I give him these reminders before he leaves, but I’m used to this. I mean, before he goes outside to ride his bike I make sure to talk to him about the expectations I have to keep him as safe as possible on the road. And yes, my younger son often reminds me that I’m overprotective, but it’s a prerequisite of being a mom.
Unfortunately, it is a scary world that we live in. But from my perspective, there are more imminent dangers than me allowing my child to fly to a different state, even amid an outbreak of sickness. So, I’ll send extra Kleenex and hand sanitizer. I’ll remind both Isaiah and my dad to wash their hands frequently and to keep their hands away from foreign surfaces as well as their faces. And most importantly, I’ll say an extra prayer for their safety, which is something that I would do regardless of the illness. Because what am I really teaching my kids if I allow the fear of the unknown to halt our entire world? Do I really want them to hide from every unknown force? Do I want them to live in fear of the what ifs on a daily basis? Absolutely not. So, my personal choice is to keep calm amidst the chaos.