COVID-19 has taught us a lot about ourselves – for the better

Photo of Eddy Almeida

As hopefully we are starting to come out the COVID-19 crisis, we should pause to think about what is getting us through this now, and how we can use it to solve other challenges in the future.

Determination, kindness, understanding, and humility come to mind when I think of the past two months. Sure, there have been some bumps in the road and we are still learning, but by and large we are adapting.

And it’s how we adapt that makes me so proud and so hopeful. Seeing people, communities, and governments come together to listen to each other’s ideas and find solutions is something we can learn from and bring to a new and more compassionate world.

Cooperation is leading us through this pandemic, and it is something that we should remember and practice more freely during our recovery, and in the post-COVID-19 world.

We are seeing the best of ourselves in this difficult time. I was touched when I heard of a man who recently moved to Canada who rushed to help a single mother in Toronto who lost all of her groceries because of a power outage. He remembered what it was like to be hungry, and wanted to help. We’ve also heard about restaurants feeding the homeless and frontline workers despite mounting losses to their bottom lines. And we have seen front line workers heroically give themselves, asking for nothing more in return than a safe workplace and recognition for the sacrifice they make for all of us. And we have seen them rewarded, sometimes with praise and sometimes with money.

Let’s not use the passing of this pandemic – and it will pass – to simply be thankful that we can go back to the old normal. Let’s create a new normal based on the cooperation and humanity that we have shown each other on such a wide scale.

Sure, many of us have stopped to help a motorist with a flat tire, walked groceries up a flight of stairs for an elderly neighbour, or called just to check up on someone.

Those acts of kindness are nice. But let’s turn the little into the big, and the small gestures into the constant. And let’s focus on innovation and inventions that benefit all of society, not just those who can afford it.

Technology and innovation are some of our society’s double-edged swords. COVID-19 has taught us what we need and what we don’t need. We are using our technology to keep in touch with loved ones and friends during COVID-19. Video conferencing sessions have become the new norm during our period of physical distancing. They have rekindled old friendships and offered a time to share feelings when in the past maybe we felt we didn’t have time for that. What we don’t need is some of the negativity that we see online all too often from a small minority of so-called keyboard warriors who only criticize and condemn but seldom offer constructive solutions.

We have embraced technology, but let’s do more to get to know those around us because, in the end, we have more things in common than not. We are all in this together, and we will emerge more in-tune with each other, more compassionate and better prepared to handle the incredibly hard times. Most of all I hope we emerge kind. Imagine that. Humankind. Love it!

Stay safe, and stay connected.

In Solidarity,

Eduardo (Eddy) AlmeidaOPSEU
First Vice-President/Treasurer

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Ontario Public Service Employees Union

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