Thanks to being quarantined at home, we’re all spending more time on social media harping about how horrible we have it. As a country, we’re facing an unknown pandemic that has the potential to kill hundreds of thousands of people and as a result, our government has taken drastic measures to curtail its spread by asking, or in some cases forcing us to self-quarantine.
Out of all this, do you know who has it the worst? Is it medical professionals faced with the thought of deciding who will live and die because of shortages of life saving equipment? Nope. Is it retirees who have seen a large percentage of their life savings wiped out overnight who now wonder if they will ever recover financially? Nope, not them either. Is it the people who are already facing life-threatening illnesses who cannot access normal health care channels because their treatment center has been overwhelmed with infected people? Nah. How about people who have lost their source of income and are now faced with the real possibility of not being able to pay for food or shelter. Are you kidding? They’ll be fine.
Who are the biggest victims of this pandemic? It’s high school seniors of course. They finished just ahead of people whose favorite sport was cancelled. Runners up include people now dealing with their kids at home, those who are on their last roll of toilet paper, and those whose favorite grocery item is not on the shelf. Oh, the humanity!
Suck it up buttercups.
As a society these days, we generally agree on nothing, but everyone over 40 universally agrees that the youngest generation of marshmallows needs a hefty dose of toughness, stat! News flash: toughness is forged during hard times.
I have some shocking news for all those whining about some sort of inconvenience this crisis has brought to their precious, made for Pinterest world. Perhaps you should sit down to hear this. Are you ready for it? No one cares.
You know who had it tough when their baby was a senior in high school? Hundreds of thousands of mothers whose sons’ draft numbers were called during WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. That’s who. Imagine your child’s graduation ceremony knowing that he would be getting on a bus and heading off to boot camp days after graduation followed by a trip to the front. That group of mothers got no sympathy from all their mom friends on social media. They just dealt with it. Meanwhile, your baby is being asked to stay in the house for now and that track, prom, and other Spring school activities have been cancelled. Big deal. If you really want to do them a favor, take away their phone, computer and every other electronic device during this time and have them learn how to deal with it. You might be shocked how resilient they actually become.
The “I had it tougher than you” game does not end well for most anyone born after 1980, at least until now. Personally, I’ve lived through several wars, stock market crashes, national emergencies, a serious nuclear threat from our enemies, terrorist attacks and other threats and calamities to include the administrations of Jimmy Carter and even Barack Obama. Yet somehow, I lived.
Given that, I would never trade my life for that of my grandparents who lived through the Great Depression, WWII and Jimmy Carter. They definitely had it worse. And, you know what? They wouldn’t have traded their lives for those in Europe who lived through WWII or worse yet, survived a concentration camp. I wouldn’t trade the worst financial predicament of any U.S. citizen with that of the bottom rung of anyone living in Venezuela, Cuba, or North Korea.
It’s all about perspective. Sure, you’re being asked to forego your child’s senior recognition night, but that’s far better than having her grandfather suffer and die due to a lack of ventilators in his overcrowded hospital because you just had to hear your kid’s name read aloud and share the picture of 8th grade graduation on Facebook. Teach your kids that their sacrifices are first small, and second noble and for a higher cause.
As parents, or anyone having an influence in the lives of the next generations, it is our duty to instill in them a sense of toughness which we have up to this point mostly failed to do. I think anyone of a reasonable age would look back on their life and measure it by the times they were pushed the hardest. They will tell you about a time when they thought all hope was lost, yet they persevered. They will tell you that this was when they grew the most. That time for the next generations is now. Don’t let them seek victimhood. Don’t allow them the easy way out.
No one ever welcomes adversity, but we should because it is exactly that which makes us stronger. Unless of course, it kills us, then it’s just a bit too much adversity. So, as the old Army saying goes, “Embrace the suck.”
Every situation in life forces us to make choices. Right now we can choose to teach our children that they have been robbed of some precious “right” like prom, senior sneak, or graduation, or we can teach them to be thankful for what they have. We have a wonderful opportunity to instill in them that during tough times everyone in a community is forced to make sacrifices. We can help them learn that this makes us stronger and more resilient to future threats. Or, we can teach them to be the whining little self-absorbed babies and create yet another group of victims who think they deserve some new entitlement for their new victim class.
The choice is ours to make.