Just because your opinion is not popular does not mean it is wrong.
The last few weeks have brought up a lot of things that none of us thought we would have to deal with. Many of us are working from home, supporting our kids through distance learning (or attempting to) and struggling to find new ways to connect with family and friends we used to see in person.
While we try to do the very best with what we have, I have come to learn that this may mean something different for different people. And with these varying perspectives, we will no doubt have different, and possibly conflicting, opinions.
As our state is starting to open back up, it is becoming even more obvious that people do have different beliefs and perspectives about what is best.
Before anyone gets all worked up and starts to say that this is not a situation where people get to make their own decisions about things, hold on!
I fully understand that this is a situation where our actions affect others. I have seen all the same comparisons to people choosing to drive drunk, run red lights or engage in other reckless behaviors that could have devastating consequences for other people.
Nothing I am going to say is challenging this. I wholeheartedly believe that we all need to be following the guidelines put in place by the people who have the power to make them. I trust, as much as anyone can, that these people have more information than I do, and therefore will follow their recommendations.
With that being said, I also know that we all have different perspectives and life circumstances that may lead to different opinions and conclusion, and that is OK. I am sure by now most of you have heard the adage, “While we might all be in the same sea, we are not all in the same boat.”
I don’t think there is any statement that could better explain what is going on right now. We are all dealing with the same global crisis and similar restrictions being put on our lives (depending on where you live).
But that does not mean we are all in the same position.
There are people who still have jobs with a solid and stable income. People who have large and comfortable homes, with outdoor space for their children, and neighborhood kids that they can interact with at a safe distance.
And there are people who lost their jobs and are unsure of how long they can keep going digging into their savings. There are those who live alone or in small spaces or God forbid with someone they are scared of and need to get away from.
I know people who are struggling greatly with not being able to see their friends and families. Saying to them that their grandparents went to war, so they can just sit on their couch for a few months, is nothing but dismissive of their feelings and the reality they are struggling with.
So this is not an invitation to ignore social distancing expectations or not to wear a mask because you think it is itchy and infringes on your freedom to do what you want. It is an invitation to show some compassion to others. To think about what boat they might be in and understand that their journey through this sea might be different than yours.
Before you dismiss someone else’s opinions or feelings, just think about what you might be able to do to help make their journey a little better.
After all, if we are going to say that everything we are going through now is being done to support and protect our neighbors, why not show some actual support to your neighbors?!
Jmore parenting columnist Talya Knable is a psychotherapist who lives in Lutherville with her husband, Stephen, and their two children, Jack and Leigh. Her website is tkpsych.com/. She is also the assistant clinical director of Shalom Tikvah (shalomtikvah.org/), a local non-profit organization that supports Jewish families facing mental illness and other challenging life circumstances.