Tuesday | 28 April | 2020
Amidst the fourth week of lockdown, our lives look much different than they did before. We are already talking about the new normal, yet this normal is only a temporary milieu in which we find ourselves and soon we will enter a new phase in this normal.
A while ago I asked people to tell me about their new normal. The feedback and stories were pleasing. Here, in the middle of uncertainty and lockdown, I could identify so many positives.
Most of our days look the same. We work from home and the children are learning through platforms, such as Wolkskool where teachers communicate directly with them. Drama, music and other activities are presented via programmes such as Zoom and Teams – that is when we as parents do not need to use the screen ourselves for a meeting.
Those of us who are less busy, have found new hobbies (or maybe rediscovered old hobbies we never had time for) such as baking and gardening. Many homes and garages are also rearranged and sorted out during this lockdown.
Of course, life goes on and birthday parties are also now hold online while everyone in the family is suddenly chipping in and helping to prepare for this special event.
Everyone has a newfound appreciation for their family members. It is almost strange that, in the midst of the unnatural circumstances of being together day in and day out, without a break or getting away a bit, we become more tolerant and patient with each other. Parents become more involved in their children’s academic life, children help with cleaning chores that was not part of their responsibility before the lockdown and grandparents use the time to learn new interesting things to their grandchildren. Our ties are definitely tighter. To be in each other’s space like this, has forced us to start getting to know everyone we share the house with better. In doing so, we cultivate greater compassion for one another.
What particularly struck me was the hope and faith that became more part of our narrative. People that are more positive during this time are not necessarily people who are less scare or who experience more financial security. What they all do have in common, is the unwavering belief that there will be an outcome even in the most difficult of circumstances.
It remains an adjustment to both young and old. It is difficult to be removed from our loved ones. A telephone call is convenient, but we miss the touch and being close. As humans we yearn to be part of a bigger community, and for the first time we get it right to focus more on humanity during the lockdown.
It is not only garages and houses that are dusted and turned around; there is the cleaning out and dusting of people’s hearts too. There is a continuous increase in compassion and empathy. There is help. There is standing together.
Our new normal is not only a time filled with fear and uncertainty. It is a time where we can take courage. It is a time of giving. It is a time of grace.
Dr Dirk Hermann
* All information was correct at the time of publication.