Much of the social research we hear and read says that we have become weary of the daily sacrifices we make to stay safe, and we yearn for the casual conversations that took place over a cup of coffee, a walk at lunchtime, or a happy meeting of old friends. The things we took for granted now have a special meaning to us. If we have been paying attention, we have been able to practice empathy like never before. I smiled at a celebrity’s comment that during this pandemic we have all been in the same boat. I respectfully disagree; We have all been in the storm, but our boats have been distinct, and unique, for all of us have had our own challenges and blessings.
What I ask you to think about is this: If storm clouds have silver linings, what have been some of your silver lining moments? I hope you can identify a few true blessings that have come from this frightening, disruptive time in our history. Maybe it is as simple as having time to spend with family, or rediscovering an old hobby or talent that you have. Maybe your silver lining is the pride you feel about how you have done more than bounce back from unusual working conditions because you proudly launched ahead in finding the best way to do everything and better balance your life. Maybe your technology skills have been enhanced.
When I list my silver linings, I must include the pride I have in my colleagues who do whatever it takes to put our students at the center of everything they do. I am so proud to be part of a community that responds to needs at all levels, not just academic success. For all of you who have practiced patience and have kept your sense of humor, you are a silver lining! For all of you who have created a means to do what couldn’t previously be done, you are a silver lining! For those of you who learned new math (or French, physics, or sculpture) so that you could support a child while you worked, you are a silver lining!
Hang in there a little longer! Please know how much your good work is appreciated. Be extra good to yourself on March 5, 2021, Employee Appreciation Day. I celebrate you and look forward to the day when we can safely see each other smile in person. And, be especially kind to the huggers and touchers. They are really struggling right now.