Raising a glass to our children

In a year dominated by COVID-19, children’s lives changed as much as ours but they also displayed a resilience that many parents, including myself, may have undervalued

Children did not let the virus dampen their dreams
Children did not let the virus dampen their dreams

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted our social lives, hit our incomes, shut down our favourite entertainment spots and changed the way we relate to each other.

It caused unemployment, raised anxiety levels and brought pain to those who lost loved ones to the disease.

And in all this disruption stood our children, who had to endure separation from friends and cousins, isolation at home and a loss of schooling.

They carried out their ballet lessons online, taught their grandparents how to use Skype and Zoom, and some went completely absent from the educational radar much to their detriment.

Many children spent more hours in front of their tablets, they got bored, got inventive with their craft-making skills, they nagged and they erected tents inside the house to mimic camping.

They also drew rainbows, clapped to the front-liners and followed the grim news delivered by Charmaine Gauci at the stroke of noon.

In trying to make heads and tails of the pandemic’s impact on our lives, our jobs and our families, we may have overlooked the lessons our children taught us.

In their innocence and silence, children learnt how to wear face masks, wash their hands and pop a sanitiser bottle in their handbag or backpack. They went back to school, waited diligently in line to have their temperature taken and forced themselves not to share their colour pencils with classmates. They reminded us to wear our face masks.

Some, undergoing cancer treatment had to contend with the pain of isolation apart from the physical suffering. For these children, life during COVID was much harder, more painful.

For others in problem homes, the respite of school was lost for many months. These too suffered.

Children’s lives changed as much as ours but they also displayed a resilience that many parents, including myself, may have undervalued.

They taught us how to adapt, move on with life and enjoy its simplicity. Above all, children did not let the virus dampen their dreams.

They showed us that our concerns on schools reopening were misplaced and that they could follow instructions.

They cried and laughed with us. They soldiered on. They hoped for a better tomorrow. They showed us the rainbow when all we could see were dark clouds.

For this we have to thank them and toast them by raising a glass… of apple juice.

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