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Blog: Friday, June 5th, 2020

Looking to Summer...Take Two

As we look at the weirdest wind-up of the school year, I am trying to get a feel for anything familiar in my long, historic life so far…nope. This is definitely new.  The “once-in-a-hundred-years” kind of thing. Fifteen minutes before we went into Spring Break with all our travel plans, when I was just trying to match holidays to clothing choices, dust off my wetsuit and reinstall my roof racks for surfboards, Bonnie Henry told us to stop everything and stay home. For ten weeks…and counting.

If anything, we’ve seen heroes and goats emerge for parents to highlight about what good (and not-so-good) people do during a crisis.  Dr. Bonnie Henry & Dr. Theresa Tam—definitely heroes; they’re collecting data from hundreds of people every day, consolidating it into a 10 minute sound bite, and giving us good advice on how to stay safe, stay calm and to be kind.  The last one—kindness—is probably the toughest. On one hand, our news reports about the amazing jobs of our front line workers and our Canadian military, and on the darker side—where world leaders show us how to point fingers, lay blame and take it out on other people.

Sometimes it feels like Charlie Brown, waiting for the arrival of the Great Pumpkin on Halloween.  Of course, the Great Pumpkin never arrives, despite the promises from Linus that THIS time it’s for real. Sure, Lucy promised to let me kick the football too…

We are managing schools in the Great pandemic  of 2020, governed by a virus we can’t see, and yet it has huge impact on our lives.  Metaphorically speaking, we are being told to go out to the field to play a game, but we don’t know who’s on each team, we have no clear boundaries, no goal posts, I don’t know what ball we are using, …and the rules can change as we play.  All we know is that when we play, we have to be kind, be calm and play safe. Anthropological history tell us that we left Africa 250,000 years ago, so how the heck did we even survive this long? My personal theory is that someone in the group finally said to the rest of the gang, “This place sucks.  Let’s go THAT way.” And a whole bunch of people followed behind until, 45,000 years later, we’re in Vancouver on Skytrain with my Timmy’s coffee.

Last week I was reminded of the 80th anniversary of Dunkirk in WWII, where 338,000 soldiers were evacuated to England in a week, using Navy ships, small pleasure boats and tugs. The takeaway of a horrific battle?  They survived to live and fight another day. And so do we; there are floods, tornados, heat waves, iceberg dams, hurricanes and giant Asian wasps. Wars and famines—we got it covered. Smallpox, Measles, Plague, Influenza, epidemics and pandemics…we continue to find a way to overcome, to survive and live another day.  In my new free time, I built some herb boxes from recycled wood, fixed my wheelbarrow, and met a guy who sells Nova Scotia lobsters in Langley. Go figure.

Be kind, be calm, be safe.  It will get better, and let’s help everyone get through it.