Pray for Paris – we heard the call in 2015, after the horrific terrorist attacks. Pray for London – the 2017 attack. And now, we pray for well, the whole world...
Yes, we pray for each other and for a cure for this horrible coronavirus disease. We express kindness and appreciation of each other, and support all nations going through this. These are the obvious acts we should do. Perhaps it is as black and white as that. But I’ve started to look at the meaning of this from a different perspective.
There are two big challenges the earth has been facing recently, both of which can only be solved through collective action. Some people need to willingly accept personal sacrifice in the name of the greater good. The first is climate change, which disproportionately affects young people. The second is coronavirus, which disproportionately affects older people. These two issues are taking precedence over our earth, and lives, now. I do not believe this is a coincidence.
What is interesting is that young people have been pleading to the older generations to take climate change seriously for some time, but many older people have been dismissive of the issue, perhaps influenced by the fact that they won’t be around when the worst impact of climate change is felt. Now we have the opposite challenge: the older generation’s health is being compromised by a virus that can only be suppressed with the help of young people, practicing social distancing. However, there is an emerging attitude from young people that they don’t have to bother with social distancing as ‘they’ll be fine’. As the first stage of restrictions came into place, we saw images of crowded beaches, and pubs still full, because ‘it doesn’t affect them’.
There seems to have been a culture lately of a separation and anger between the young and the elderly. We even have slang to ignite that separation; ‘okay boomer’, while the older generations can carry an ignorant attitude to young peoples’ concerns.
Perhaps these two issues have popped up at once so that we learn a very vital lesson here. Respect one another. Perhaps these two crises will jolt these assumptions, and we can finally understand each generation’s concerns. Perhaps this may even bring compassion and wisdom as to how we can move forward as one. This isn’t about separation between countries, but a separation between humanity amongst ourselves.
When we go about our daily plan, why don’t we add respect to the list of things to do? The word love can get muddled up, but respect is clear and definitive. Let us start with respecting one another.
Words: Sharon Halliwell