When 2020 is finally history, most people are probably hoping to forget it ever happened. After all, it’s difficult to imagine a silver lining from a year that has given us a worldwide pandemic, not to mention a ravaged global economy.
If we look ahead, though, there is potential good to come from this unprecedented time, says Jennifer Williams, a Vicksburg resident who works for the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center. She is a wife and mother of two: 16-year-old Stone, her son, and 8-year-old Sydney, her daughter.
Benefit 1: The realization or reminder that time is precious
Before 2020, many families tended to see each other in passing. Parents were running off to work, children were running off to school followed by practices, games and rehearsals. Family dinners had become increasingly uncommon since most of us were in a constant state of go. COVID-19 forced us all to slow down. In fact, it forced us all to actually stop for several weeks. Believe it or not, the “Great Quarantine of 2020” will likely inspire a few comedy flicks.
Along those same lines, the current restrictions have seen to it that parents are becoming more involved with their children because they’ve been basically forced to become home school teachers.
“The upside to all of this (the pandemic) is you develop a better understanding of your children as students,” Williams said.
“You fully understand their strengths and weaknesses as pupils. You now know what their teachers know,” she added. “I, for one, have also learned that teachers deserve a gigantic raise and the best seats in heaven. Teaching mine is not easy.”
Benefit 2: One can never be too prepared
One of the byproducts of the coronavirus is depleted grocery shelves. Most of us haven’t yet built bomb shelters, but we have learned to stock up on essentials.
“I used to joke with my mother about the boxes of (powdered) milk she had in her pantry,” Williams recalled with a laugh. “She would defend her boxes by asking me what would happen if we ran out of milk.
“I told her if you run out, you can go to the store or order it from Amazon.”
In Williams’ case, mother did indeed know best. “When this (the COVID-19 crisis) all started, I learned quickly that it’s a good idea to have food, water and medical supplies on hand for emergencies,” she said. “And of course, toilet paper.”
Benefit 3: The importance of saving
In the beginning, many people were in a state of panic as they found themselves financially unprepared. People will hopefully come out of this with a healthier approach to finances.
“My parents always encouraged me to put money aside,” Williams said. “They made a point of spending less than what they made. It was always ingrained in me to not live beyond my means.”
“Maybe after things get back to normal, some people will realize it’s a bad idea to buy the Escalade off the showroom floor,” she added. “Hopefully people will have learned that the used 4Runner gets them where they need to go just as well.”
Benefit 4: Improved attitude concerning health-care workers
It’s common to complain about how long we sit in waiting rooms during doctor appointments or about the cost of medicine or co-pays. However, it’s time to appreciate health-care professionals on the front line who are at risk while serving the masses.
“I hope people can see how dedicated the medical crews are around the country,” Williams said. “We are so fortunate to have the doctors and nurses in the hospitals in America. So many people take them for granted. They are doing a phenomenal job now, and that was true before the coronavirus.”
Benefit 5: Kindness always counts
“Caremongering” is a word that didn’t exist before the coronavirus. I dare you to try it during your marathon Words with Friends games. A kind-hearted woman from Toronto named Valentina Harper is responsible for introducing the word to our lexicon.
Like many things these days, caremongering is driven by social media. Hashtags provide a permanent record of all the good happening across North America. Some of the common acts of care include supermarket runs for those who are unable to leave their homes. People are cooking meals for those in need and disseminating gift cards to the recently unemployed.
“I sure hope people continue being so generous and kind when all of the restrictions are lifted. I’ve witnessed some truly heartwarming acts of kindness because of this pandemic,” Williams said. “Is it too much to ask for everybody to keep it going?”
She then answered her own question: “You know what? We will keep being considerate and kind. I bet looking back on this whole year, we all realize we made it through it, and we’re better people for it.”