Lessons from Kindergarten

The eye of the hurricane is a place of calm in the center of the storm. If we compare the events of 2020 to such a system, then the eye for me has been doing remote learning with Mr. Carter and his Kindergarten class.

We start the day with a Good Morning song, with lyrics such as “Good morning to you, there’s so much to do.” The children sing along, and the sweet voices give you a sense that the day is going to be a great one and that you can accomplish anything.

Then we work on the various subjects that you and I take for granted, like math and reading. There’s even Spanish, which I admit is a struggle for me at times, having forgotten most of what I learned in my three years of study at a much older age than six. In fact, I don’t remember learning as much as Mr. Carter is learning at this age, but I realize it has been over four decades since I was in his position, and education has naturally evolved in that time.

We end the day with a Goodbye song, which gives me the same feeling as the end credits of a favorite show. I’m sorry to say goodbye to this cast of characters. Woven throughout these lessons is the education of following rules, respecting the other students, and taking responsibility for the things you do well and those you do incorrectly. How ironic it is for my son to learn these things in our home at the same time people outside our home do not? The very fact that we are at home is a testament to the disrespect others continue to show during this pandemic.

Those who have been in the eye of a hurricane know that it doesn’t mean the storm isn’t over; another round of difficulty is yet to come. Schools across the metro area have had to shut down classes or entire schools following Thanksgiving. That’s because the holiday proved too much for people who didn’t want to sacrifice travel and spending time with friends and family in order to, quite frankly, do what was right and stay home.

You see, when anyone contracts COVID-19, that is a direct result of someone not following the rules, respecting other citizens, or taking responsibility for what they do incorrectly. If everyone wore a mask, washed their hands, and stayed six feet away from each other, things wouldn’t be this bad. Those are the rules told to us in March when the pandemic was declared a national emergency.

It’s an incredibly contagious virus that can cause not only terrible discomfort but also chronic conditions in patients who survive. Every time you forget your mask or take a quick selfie with buddies where you lean in next to each other unprotected, you’re risking infection. Add to that the travel and blatant disregard for safety, and you will see these tragic numbers rise more dramatically after Christmas and New Year’s.

When future generations ask me what it was like to live through a pandemic, I will immediately answer that it is a privilege to live beyond it. However, I will also give the cautionary tale of the “every man for himself” attitude we adopted and say that I wish things we learned in kindergarten stuck with us as adults.