What Did You Learn From This?

There’s no question that the last year and half has been tragic. Millions of people have perished in a merciless pandemic, millions more are still dealing with the consequences. Businesses were destroyed. Jobs were lost that will never come back. Relationships were subjected to unimaginable strain, institutions were stretched to their breaking point. 

For parents, the burden was even harder. Childcare options were limited. Families worked from home…and schooled from home. We had to keep everyone safe…and everyone happy. We were taxed financially, emotionally, psychologically. Some marriages made it. Some didn’t. Some friendships flourished. Some floundered. We bonded more tightly with our kids. Or those bonds broke under strain. 

As the world begins, slowly, blinkingly, to emerge into the post-Corona sunlight—thanks to vaccines and the tireless efforts of healthcare workers—the question now is: What was it all for? What will come of it? Individually and collectively, What did you learn from it?

Nothing can bring back who and what we lost. That’s the thing about tragedy. But what humans can do, and have always done, is learn from tragedy. And make no mistake, there were many lessons and reminders in the last year. We were shown what truly matters in life. We were shown how fragile life is. We were shown how interconnected we all are and yet, at the same time, how on our own we are when it comes to looking out for our families. We were shown what our obligations to the vulnerable and unfortunate are (and the incredible cost incurred when that obligation is not met). We were shown what we’re capable of, how we are stronger than we ever thought possible. 

These are the real lessons from COVID-19. Now comes the unpleasant work of sifting through them, codifying them, applying them. Life can’t simply “go back to normal”—that would be to waste what has happened, to reject the hard-won learnings and painful sacrifices of so many. By luck, by hard work, we have survived this historic event. It is our duty—our obligation—to learn from it and be made better for it…for our sake, for our kid’s sake, for the sake of all who come after us. 

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