By Mike D Canavan
Whilst, I truly believe that our political leaders are doing what they perceive to be the best they can in these very challenging times. I however cannot help feel that they are overlooking the most fundamental and important need of our community. The need that will allow it to emerge stronger, post Coronavirus.
We as human beings rely on a number of things to keep us going. Our sense of community is vital to our stability, to our future. Part of belonging is a vital path to hope.
During great times of crisis, humans naturally turn to their family, friends and community to provide hope. By denying easy access to such support networks, they are being denied the vital infrastructure of hope in their future.
Hope is the mainspring of life. Without hope we become lost and have no direction. Hope is a universal human need. Hope is the fuel to keep us going. It’s the imagination to look beyond the bad things and see good in the future and the goodness that exists all around. As long as we hold onto hope, it’s amazing what we can do.
People can and have made it through the most difficult of times. In the past our older generations have seen Economic Depressions, War, and life changing technological innovations. All these things were made possible with hope via friends and community support. They not only can survive the worst this world can dole out, but they can even flourish – as long as they have hope and faith.
A suggestion came across my desk from one of our team about doing a series of articles on the effect the continuous negative coronavirus messages are having on every day people. When it’s all said and done our political masters have a duty of care to communicate and inform everyone in the community in a meaningful and understanding way exactly what we’re going through, and how they plan to deal with it moving forward.
I don’t believe that it is escaped anyone’s attention that the politicians and bureaucrats that have turned our lives upside down are still enjoying full salaries and continued superannuation support. Many are earning well in excess of $500,000 PA. Their decisions have inflicted great grief and pain at large, (all but it be for what they say is the greater good) but they do not suffer any of the financial burden they themselves? Is this fair? We are told ‘we are all in this together,’ but are we? Almost 1.2million Australians having lost their jobs due and their actions. What is the price of the greater good?
They must market and sell their bitter pills to a largely concerned, confused, and frightened community.
Are they doing a good job?
It is without question, that our children and possibly even their children’s, children will have to deal with and pay for the decisions that have and continue to be made today.
I thought I’d start this series by asking a teacher of young students how the children in her care understand and are reacting to the whole coronavirus situation.
Michelle is a primary school teacher and recently a young mum with her first baby. She’s gone from working full-time to part-time to help with their household bills, as well as take good care of their new child.
Michelle, what’s the mood and spirit like in the classrooms that you teach right now?
“It’s completely different to the way we normally teach. I find it quite sad actually. Children are turning up to school quite solemn. They sit by themselves and start working. Sadly we can’t provide too many extra activities as kids who are working remotely from home would be missing out, and it could put them behind”.
Do you think the children have any understanding of what is going on and why they are not allowed to play the way they’ve grown to expect?
“I teach slightly older primary school children, so they have some idea as to what’s going on. We need to keep constantly reminding them about social distancing because it’s just not natural to them to do this. I just wonder if they really understand”.
What tools have you been given, to assist in getting the dangers of the Coronavirus across to such young, and impressionable souls?
“Sadly, not too many”…
When it’s all said and done, kids will be kids. How have you stopped them from doing what comes naturally to them, for instance; observing social distancing?
“The whole social distancing thing is a constant issue. We try and make jokes and keep the atmosphere as light as possible ⎼ but that doesn’t mean the message that we’re getting across to them is any less important, after all it is such a serious subject”.
Understanding that parents have work, you then are providing an essential service – not just educating them but keeping them safe. What pressure does that put on you?
“It’s been quite stressful. I’ve never taught like this before… We had little or no time to redesign programs or take into account independent home schooling and remote learning. It’s totally different to the normal status quo that both teachers and kids are use too. My first concern is not to add to their families already really tough situations. I kinda feel like a duck paddling furiously underneath the water ⎼ I’m just trying to keep afloat”.
When they go home, in some instances Dad and Mum work, and one or either may have lost their job – what do the children tell you when they come to school the next day?
“Children are like blotting paper; they soak up everything. The ones whose parents have lost their jobs are quite stressed. They look to us for support, in some ways they’ve lost confidence. They seem to want more help with tasks they previously may not have asked for before i.e. they feel they need support and some are more unsure of themselves”.
How is the Coronavirus affecting your home life?
“Like many, it’s hit us pretty hard. Both grandparents used to help out with babysitting, now that’s not possible. This has increased stress and fatigue levels in all of our families. Working from home is difficult now both of us need to do it. Space is at a premium, a place where we can concentrate and work is hard with a one-year-old. I know the grandparents miss our baby, the requests for video calls has never been so high”.
If you were to offer any advice from your point of view to our Prime Minister, what might it be?
“Please LEARN from what other countries are doing! The children will not miss a year of education, but we as professionals need to be trusted to meet the needs and fill the gaps that may occur as a result of this pandemic. If there was swifter and more assertive action around the risks of this virus and the need to lock everything down, we could have been in a much better state than we currently are. Instead, we are all suffering for a lot longer because of a lack of clarity and wishy-washy no action leadership”.
Our political masters say they are taking the advice of medical experts. But which medical experts? Opinions vary from person to person. About a month ago ⎼ the Australian newspapers carried a headline:
“Expert warns 150,000 coronavirus deaths in Australia”. Now that followed a wildly speculative statement from the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly. Mr. Kelly said based on modelling, in the worst-case scenario, up to 150,000 Aussies would die from Covid-19.
This same Paul Kelly 28 days later said, on Friday the 10th of April, that we are seeing the first signs of the virus dying out. According to Mr Kelly, “there’s no need to be alarmed.” Is he kidding? Why would you take anything that this clown has to say seriously.
Opinions do change. The Prime Minister, whilst taking advice, must act as a leader.
Alarmists exist everywhere, it’s good to sell newspapers and it fuels the 24-hour news cycle. Great care must be exercised ⎼ not to be taken in by their rhetoric. Again Prime Minister, hope is the key. Provide the people with hope and a vision for our future, do this, and you will be amazed at how strong our community can be.
More next week