A pandemic is a terrible thing to waste.
The onslaught and impact of World War C (Covid 19) has taught us that no one in America — or elsewhere on our planet — was prepared for something like the new season that’s upon us. The question is: should we have been better prepared? Horror movies, books, articles, Armageddon-minded futurists, and others had for decades foretold the possibility of a viral outbreak. Regardless of what should have been done, we must now — more than ever — manage our stress, emotions, and behavior.
Now that we’re in a new season and climate of protests, due to the killing of George Floyd, we’re seeing a perfect storm emerge. Peaceful protests are being hijacked by criminal and aberrant behavior. This new season is now a critical part of our recovery equation. If the response to this multi-generational crisis continues to be ignored, it will result in further physical, economic, health, and political damage to our country.
Stressors and the emotional trauma that our kids have to manage will increase due to all of the additional issues and fears that continue to escalate. This is especially true for males, who are typically socially-emotionally delayed in their adolescent years. The most influential person in a child’s life is their same-sex parent. In an earlier post, Clinical Psychologist, Linda Olson, Ph.D., reminded us of an important fact. Parents play a critical role in the development of their sons by validating their feelings.
For those who have accepted the inevitable, what can we do as we carefully venture outside to resume our lives? How will we manage our internal and external social-emotional intelligence and behavior? What behavior will we display and embrace?
Speak Up, Stand Up, and Step Up
As educators, we know that for both K-12 and college students the educational process will change going forward. I recently spoke with a school board member in one of the largest districts in America. I was told that the Board won’t authorize their students to go back to school due to safety concerns. Like other districts, they are in a quandary
This “new season” will require deficit spending to accommodate students, parents, and educators, while seeking to be equitable. Black, brown, special needs, Native American, underserved, and socio-economically challenged kids and families were strained before World War C. They will be further impacted in this new season.
Sadly, some are ignorantly using this pandemic as a xenophobic excuse to accuse, attack, and harass Asians and other groups of people. Additionally, there’s an increase in domestic violence, which adds fuel to the fire. Unfortunately, every conflict seems to awaken phobias and prejudices.
People of good conscience must speak up, stand up, and step up for those being victimized, especially when it comes to children and the elderly. This is the time for heroes to emerge. Be a hero. Our children are watching to see evidence of our kindness, compassion, confidence, and steadfastness. This is the time to emerge from the Bat Cave, rip open our shirts, and expose our Behavioral SuperPowers™.
America Will Survive
I, like others, have family and friends that have been infected and affected by Covid-19. Some have even died due to complications from this uninvited guest. There are many difficult months and years ahead, but these are NOT the end times. Families and communities need prayer, encouragement, and assistance. We must be careful of being lulled into a false sense of insecurity. This new era requires resolve and foresight.
Some of the greatest ideas, inventions, and heroic efforts have borne of crisis situations. The United States will get through World War C, the unfortunate civil unrest, and the inevitable economic recovery. We need to be steadfast in our focus to thrive, rather than merely survive, during what may seem to many as apocalyptic times. Behavior matters — everywhere, and always.
Dr. Gregory A. Spencer volunteers as a Senior Policy Advisor and Behavioral SuperPowers™ Catalyst with DreamSmartAcademy.com. He also serves as Vice President with Footsteps2Brilliance.com, a social justice bilingual literacy and parent engagement organization. After surviving a traumatic childhood, Dr. Spencer went on to earn his degree from The University of San Francisco. He has served as a teacher, school principal, school board president, superintendent, elected city commissioner, and as a Legislative Aide in the California State Assembly. Dr. Spencer is an ordained minister who earned his Ph.D. in Traumatology and Crisis Counseling from Monarch Theological Seminary, with courses from MIT. He is a sought after and recognized educational futurist. Dr. Spencer is a best-selling author and co-author of An American Crisis: Veteran’s Unemployment, Invest in Your Debt, 936 Pennies, How to Close the Credibility Gap, and Discover Your Inner Strength, with NY Times best-selling authors, Dr. Stephen R. Covey & Dr. Ken Blanchard. Dr. Spencer has earned many accolades, including being recognized by The White House, the U.S. Senate, and the CA State Legislature.