Gabriel's Social Distancing
We salute you, Gabriel, and all the other brave children and teens who are trying to make this social distancing thing work!
The Children's Sacrifice
We see a great deal in the media today about how adults are struggling with the trauma of this covid-19 pandemic, but very little that demonstrates our adult empathy toward the children. My heart breaks for them. Their world has changed so dramatically since March of 2020. In an instant, life as they knew it changed dramatically.
For some, the closing of school sounded like a vacation at first. As they were inundated with school work that had to be completed from home, however, with no peer support or teachers to watch over them, these very important generation Z youth soon realized that being kept away from school was a significant loss.
We salute the health care workers, but joke about the hardship parents are having as they struggle with home-based education. Let's salute these brave younger people, as well. They're trying so hard to cope with some overwhelming losses today: loss of daily peer and teacher interactions, loss of a sense of safety and security, loss of routine, and--most important for some--loss of family members who can't be with them because of this nasty virus.
Have We Cared Enough About Generation Z?
In an article posted on the Internet on April 27, 2020, Dr. Lisa Jacobs, a child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist, raised some challenging issues about the sacrifices we are asking this younger generation to make. They don't appear to be affected as severely by the virus that causes covid-19. We have closed the schools and isolated them (along with just about everyone else) primarily to keep from overwhelming the health care system and to protect the more and most vulnerable generations that came before them.
It's okay to do this, but let's make a commitment to them, as well. Let's agree to remember that every one of them might need a little extra help becoming independent as adults because they went through a generational trauma unlike anything that the Baby Boomers, the Gen Xers, and the Millennial Generation went through. Let's remind them that we isolated them from their peers and schools not just because we cared more about the older generations, but also because we don't really know enough about this virus to insure that their generation won't have residual long-term effects from it. This lets them know that they are equally important! They matter... They represent the future.
We need to do everything possible to insure that Generation Z comes out of this pandemic as healthy as possible from a physical and mental health perspective. We can start doing this by telling them that we are really trying to figure out what's best for them, too, not just that they have to socially distance because they might spread this virus. Tell them how important they are to us and to the future of our families, our communities, our nation, and the world. As we rebuild our post-pandemic economy and educational systems, let's show them that we care by putting an end to bullying, youth violence, and all the ways that our young people, and their parents, are exploited for profit.
Copyright, Deerwood Family Services, 2020
"Don't worry about me, Mom and Dad!" (But we need to worry)
Let's work together to insure that they come out of this with post-traumatic growth instead of post-traumatic-stress-disorder.