I Hate the Idea of Creating a Culture of Fear
There is a fine line between being careful and prepared and giving into a culture of fear. That's what I arrived at this weekend after conversations and news about COVID19 and all things Coronavirus.
I'm not saying this isn't scary or doesn't have some crazy potential consequences because as the experts have made abundantly clear, it does have that potential.
I know people in highly vulnerable and impacted cities (for example, my Mom teaches First Grade in Seattle - she has been shut down by the Governor), but my gut is there is a difference in operating with an abundance of caution, and perhaps, creating or living inside a culture of fear.
I talked to a variety of people this weekend - outside my circle - and heard a surprising variety of responses to this whole Caronavirus stuff. Some were feeling scared and doing voluntary self-quarantining. Others are planning trips out of country and haven't considered backing down on those for even a second.
I have a son who is 11 years-old, so I've been watching the reaction from his school district closely. When we got the news today that West Ada intended to have the schools open this coming week, I both wondered if this was the best decision, and also appreciated that a lot of thought and expert evidence went into the decision process, and the experts had advised school should remain open.
They did share that no absences would be counted this week, clearly understanding the complexity and varied levels of comfort and confidence this would bring.
So as I talked to my son's mom about our plans for the week, it wasn't surprising to me that we ended up in different places. I wasn't concerned if he was to go to school until the situation and response changed and she was more comfortable with him staying home.
We decided since her feelings were stronger, he will do school from home this week. We will see how that pans out.
After the decision was made, I didn't give too much thought until a couple hours later, when it hit me that my decision to have him sit out might be doing more than protecting him, but potentially could be contributing to a culture of fear. I don't want him to fear things, even when there are elements to be concerned and respectful of. I don't want to teach him to run from facing things when he's scared, and allow fear to grow larger than it ever should be able to.
Or, maybe, it's just the right choice to be more cautious? Or maybe it's both.