What People are Learning About Themselves and Others During this Pandemic


Check out this piece at The Washington Post. 

Here is author and historian Ron Chernow:

My work has always been my preferred form of therapy and escape, and no less during this period. A shrink would probably speculate that I became a biographer in the first place so that I could disappear every day into other lives and other eras. I have tried to stick with my usual writing routine in the middle of the pandemic. I think it gives a veneer of normality to the situation and makes me feel in some small way that I can control a piece of my life. Luckily, the book that I am writing at the moment is on Mark Twain, so I am holed up in my apartment with arguably the most entertaining person in American history.

One side of me has secretly enjoyed this sudden standstill in activities. I think we have all been reminded of what is essential in life, which is our relationships with other people. When we come out of the other end of this, we are going to have a deeper bond with the people in our lives — of course, the people who have survived this. For many years I have been worried about the state of our democracy. But it’s very heartening to see so many people doing their civic duty and acting not only to protect themselves but to protect their fellow citizens, too. This has been a great demonstration of the power of mass democracy, and I hope it continues. One thing that has struck me very powerfully is the intergenerational harmony. I have been very touched by the generosity of younger friends, members of the millennial generation who have volunteered to shop for me, recognizing that I am at higher risk. One day, my doorbell rang. I went downstairs and nobody was there. But there were three enormous shopping bags bulging with food, household supplies and sanitary wipes brought by a younger friend. In my experience, the younger generation has been extraordinarily considerate of their elders.

Here is park ranger Jessica Korgie:

I have been inspired to create content for the Park Service’s visual media and involve everyone at the park as much as I can. I reflect on perseverance as well. The homesteading era, which was from 1862 through 1986, was about perseverance on many levels. People made it through, and so will we.

I am learning new skills to be a more effective communicator. We’re very keyed in to making sure that all the media we are producing is accessible to everybody. I am so impressed by everyone’s ideas, proactiveness and most of all friendship. Oops, this is where I get emotional. I have daily contact with my co-workers, so it really makes social distancing a lot easier for me. Community is the backbone. If there is anything I have learned through the homesteading story, it is that having a supportive community can make all the difference in survival, whether it is mental or physical in nature. I am hopeful to once again welcome our community of travelers and knowledge seekers and folks who just happened to come through our door. I am waiting for them to come back.