As the theme song of “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” says, the world has gotten “flipped turned upside down.” COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on nearly everyone’s normal routine and causing major shifts in the way students attend school, parents deal with their children and people go to their jobs. All of these massive shifts show a massive need for one character trait: grace.
Showing or giving grace is the act of showing courtesy and sympathy to others. This will be especially vital for morale and mental health as we approach the next few weeks of social distancing. It is something all of us should try to do regularly, but it will be especially crucial during this uncertain time.
Nobody planned for this. The government should have, but that’s beside the point. And nobody is sure what to do next. Parents who worked over 40 hours a week while their youngsters are at school are now trapped in the house with those kids all day, every day.
College students who haven’t lived at home for longer than a week in three years are now staring down the barrel of an extended stay in their childhood bedroom. And perpetual boredom is the most common activity practiced during social distancing.
Everything is in chaos, and this means there will assuredly be many mistakes. Professors will mess up an assignment’s due date and will struggle to host a class on Zoom, which is a platform I learned about eight days ago that will now be controlling my daily life for the foreseeable future, so that’s fun.
The overworked and underpaid minimum wage worker (Thanks, Obama?) at the grocery store that was woefully undertrained for the now high-stress career they are now in because of Karens buying Charmin like anti-vaxxers buy essential oils will screw up. He or she will put something on the wrong shelf, scan an item twice and be a little short-tempered because of the immeasurable amount of crap they have had to deal with in the past two weeks.
The “High School Musical” principle applies in that we are all in fact in this together, and we will all mess up. Giving grace will not only encourage others to fix and work on mistakes but will help show compassion to people that have essentially been “flying by the seat of their pants” trying to hang on to the last shred of normalcy.
Students should show grace to professors and teachers who will now be shifting their entire curriculum because of in-person class cancellations. Professors and teachers should also show the same grace to students, as they were not expecting or prepared in this rapid shift in their lives.
Life is crazier than being sent to go live with your rich aunt and uncle thousands of miles away, which is wild even for Will Smith but not near that fun. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and President Donald Trump don’t even know what’s going on. Actually, Parson and Trump especially don’t know what’s going on, which is troubling. Being kind and courteous, and giving grace to people costs nothing and should be something Americans do at all times anyway, but it’s especially important now.