March 13, 2020, was the last day of “normal” for many North Dakotans. Within days we saw schools close, employees sent home, and changes to our most basic routines. As we learned terms like social distancing and PPE, we were slowly becoming aware of how our lives were being altered. We watched as neighbors reached out to one another, offering to share needed supplies or to pick up and deliver groceries and medications to those at highest risk.
Parents took walks with their children identifying homes and businesses decorated with hearts. This “World of Hearts” movement spread hope across the country signifying that we are all in this together. Unfortunately, as spring turned to summer and summer to fall the impacts of the pandemic have been persistent and substantial. We moved from the hope a World of Hearts delivered to divisive arguments of masks and debated responsibilities. However, we have the power to reignite the hope, connectedness and support our neighbors displayed months ago.
For example, as parents, we recognize the tremendous impact the pandemic is having on our children. The 2020 pandemic will be the defining moment of this generation much like 9-11 was for the generation before. Every day we have an opportunity to shape this event for our children, ensuring they look back and identify gains more than losses.
As we continue living amid this pandemic and enter the holiday season, we are reminded of the importance of hope, empathy and gratitude.
Feeling socially connected is more important than ever. Check in with family, friends, and neighbors as many are struggling with isolation, stress, anxiety and loneliness. We can make a difference in getting them help.
Resources are available at www.behavioralhealth.nd.gov/covid-19 or www.parentslead.org/covid-19. For free crisis counseling call Project Renew at 701-223-1510.