The last seven months our comfortable American lifestyle has redefined itself. The daily routines have shifted, schools are in crisis, economy erratic, families rattled–the list grows.
Yet, there is an irony to the entire situation, and I pray that there are some dramatic shifts for the positive in our lifestyle that are and have been desperately needed.
First and possibly most important, families are being forced to redefine their structure. When the first mandates were put into place, schools closed. Immediately, without any warning, families had to figure out how to manage the children at home.
Certainly not every family unit had two parents working outside of the home, but many did. Not every family had elementary kids who needed supervision at home. But for many, the immediate decision had to be who was staying home.
Then comes the next crisis: how to teach all the students. Maybe teaching elementary schools does not seem so daunting, but it is. How one generation learned does not match the generation currently in school.
Add to that the teachers knew teaching as person-to-person. In a weekend, the teachers had to transform into virtual teachers and nowhere in the college curriculum did education students learn about virtual teaching.
Often in schools the technology teams were paid staff who installed, updated, and repaired all the district’s hardware. Librarians were the other staff members who were often the more tech savvy in the district, but even now their job has been redefined by the need to substitute in a classroom or supervise lunch. The library is not the first priority.
As the months continue to roll along, families adapt and thankfully businesses do too. A second positive developed–work at home became a viable option. Productivity proved possible, and workers discovered that commute time became family time or productive work time.
My brother’s work is a global company and there is some belief that the changes COVID has forced has rewritten many practices like travel, working meals, face-to-face sales calls, and even the office costs will be minimized.
Speaking of commuting, consider the changes in driving. Not only has commuting time and miles been dramatically reduced, COVID has lowered consumption of gas, oil, tires, and so on. Not to mention the dramatic change in traveling for pleasure.
That brings another major change to mind–the cost of entertainment. Maybe the shift is really in priorities, which can be a positive considering how much emphasis and money has been spent on professional sports.
In fact, COVID is forcing us to slow down and re-evalute our priorities. Over the years, we have chosen to spend our money for making our lives comfortable, enjoyable, almost luxurious especially in relation to so many millions and millions of people.
We have invested in entertainment with abandon. We even choose to spend more money on sporting events than we tithe to the church. We have chosen style over frugality.
During this COVID season, I have discovered that I do not need to go shopping for clothes. I do not need to take off for random weekend runs. I do not need to the latest appliances. I do not need . . . and the list continues to grow.
What I have also learned is that I value my home much more. I use the space more completely than I did before. I take more pride in the yard and the small amount of vegetables I plant and harvest. I look around and discover the fun I can have with what I do have.
Oh, there are disappointments and losses that I can list, too. But today, I want to see the positives that COVID has forced me to see. I prefer looking at the good not the bad. I see hope not despair. I see God, not the evil. I pray that others see the lessons we can learn and make changes that will improve the quality of our lives that will carry forward.