I started penning this blog last week. It was going to be about getting kids outside. I was going to write about the resilience and confidence that nature and wilderness instil in our youth.
But alas, I’ve changed the content. I’m writing today about the recent outbreak of a new variant of COVID. I think that the reaction to this virus has not been fair on humans, and especially children. You are only a kid once, and we’ve sadly taken that freedom away from an entire generation.
Once again right now, the worlds’ media are doing a sterling job of stirring the pot. This results in the political leaders making overly hasty decisions, based on misinformation. The knee jerk chaos that ensues, is supposed to be a short-term fix … but we’re playing a long-term game.
The media will always try to sensationalise the news. They’ll use fear-mongering and over-exaggeration, to sell more newspapers, to accumulate more hits, to make more money. This makes me so disappointed.
Not only am I disappointed. But angry. And tired too. Journalists and politicians alike seem to have no idea of the pain, stress and anxiety that the financial pressure of these “solutions” has put onto the world. In tourism, we’ve been badly affected, if not the most badly affected industry. The industry has suffered worldwide. But I think we’ve suffered very badly here in Africa. The politicians continue to ignore the escalating unemployment rate, and a huge increase in depression and other mental diseases – leading to an increase in the suicide rate. The anguish of disappointed families that are literarily ripped apart, unable to travel, some of them even within their own country. The mental and physical strain that lockdowns, quarantine and isolation bring. When the cost of the “cure” becomes more than the cost of the disease – we then have another far bigger crisis on our hands.
Kids have the lowest infection rates. The younger they are, the better they tend to cope when they do contract the virus. The vaccines are working. Fewer and fewer vaccinated people are getting badly sick. The potential uncertainties or side effects of the vaccines? Nobody knows for sure, but as adults, we’ll be 6 feet under anyway, in 30 or 40 years time. Our children will be solidly in the prime middle years of their life. My daughter is 5, and she’s worn a mask for almost half of her life. She has missed Birthday parties, playdates and family get-togethers. The older kids, especially high school kids, have missed out on the rights of passage and milestones of their teenage years. Sport, dances and other social events have all been cancelled…
We are resilient. We are tough. We are positive. We are resolute. We are human. Discomfort teaches us to remain humble, and grow, and improve. When we are out of our comfort zone – we learn lessons about ourselves and others. Out of adversity grows self-confidence and optimism. We’ve been forced to re-look at priorities, and overall we are better. Watch this amazing story from National Geographic photographer Corey Richards when you have 4 minutes spare … it sums it all up nicely.
We’ll continue to plough through this. We’ll continue to scrape out an existence. We’ll stand by until travel and tourism fire on all cylinders once again. We’ve had lots of practice over the last 21 months – so we will face this wave with more information, more direction, more clear heads, and ultimately more solutions.
And so, we will soon be able to focus on getting kids outside again. We will develop and grow our youth. We’ll give our kids all the opportunities that youth brings. For you are only a kid once.