By Letter to the Editor on December 30, 2020.
A few years ago, my then 87-year-old mom told a story of Nazi occupation in Holland as a young teenager. She spoke of strangers walking up to their family’s home asking for something to eat, and how the family often fed those folks. While they had little for themselves, they still found some to share. If you listen to others from that generation, you’ll hear stories of hardship, as well as acts of kindness.
For many younger Canadians, the COVID experience may be one of the most challenging times we have experienced. The anger, fear, frustration and grief are both real and seemingly unending. The news updates seem dominated by negativity. Perhaps we lack the perspective from the last generation in assessing the extent of our hardships.
I suggest that we focus away from the Grinch, and towards others.
Shift some of your time, money and focus away from protest and complaints. Fill a shoebox together with your children to go to needy kids in other countries who sadly understand the true meaning of the word “tyranny” as used in your protest banners.
Act like Coaldale’s volunteer firefighters who, in an afternoon, collected funds to buy food bank Christmas hampers.
Serve at the Soup Kitchen or a local food bank to see and hear the struggles of some of our own. Empathy and a little understanding may be an outcome.
Give to the Salvation Army, the Canadian Foodgrains Bank or others who serve those near and far with the most basic of needs. They really need it now.
Buy from a local restaurant or struggling small business to help them survive. Imagine their strain.
Say a kind word or a thankful “drive by” to the “army” of frontline folks who continue to keep us fed, watered, educated and healthy. They’re amazing.
Recognize that our leaders, in spite of their “warts” and missteps, have managed to guide our communities and country far better than most through this mess. What a burden they have had.
Be thankful for what we do have. Canada, while imperfect, has many supports and protections for the vulnerable, along with rights, privileges and opportunities that don’t exist in many parts of the world.
If we can focus on these responses, to shift away from the Grinch and towards others, we will not only honour the spirit of generosity shown by some in our last generation, but also gain perspective towards a better outlook and outcome for all of us.