I have a personal reason for being interested in children’s programs, her name is Abigail, my granddaughter. I watched Abigail experience the newness of the pandemic in awe – at first. The first weeks were no different from an extended vacation with some remote schooling with mom. There were experiments of what new games, enhanced crafts, and outdoor activities nearby. Then came summer. Abigail could not understand why her summer life was not back on track. There were no plans of the usual summer camps, her friends were still away in places that she could not reach, but worst of all, she could not have the pool party she waited two years to celebrate her 7th birthday. This new world is much for the children to digest and so it is around the world.
I participated in a workshop that focused on helping the children through the crisis. Many of the participants were from India, Bangladesh, Europe and I represented the US. I enjoyed seeing both parents and children together in an expression of family unity. There were presentations on meditation while children and adults both meditated. I enjoyed the virtual storytelling about other cultures and societies. There was an appreciation of languages and dialects demonstrated by speaking in native languages.
There were virtual visits to each other’s countries and homes. I re-lived my visit to Bangladesh while viewing a participant walking through the streets of Dhaka with his phone sharing the impact of COV19 in the city. It was not at all like the city I was in 6 months ago. In one of the most populated cities in the world, Dhaka’s streets were deserted with few vendors and fewer customers. The participant shared how the pandemic impacted the livelihoods of families. I in turned shared a view of my home, my love of art, my love of family, and my love of the beach. One of the mothers responded after my virtual home tour that her son appreciated the view and thanked me.
So how do we help the children through a crisis we ourselves have not been through. We give more. We give of our time. We give of ourselves. We show, not tell them that humanity is resilient. We become believers of a future we create – with the children.