I know we usually talk about business, but let’s pause for a moment to talk about life. Let’s face it, the familiarity and comfort of our daily lives has been upended. The last week has been rough. Our neighbors are sick, and more will likely become sickened in the days to come. With good reason, our freedom to go and do as we please has been restricted. Our economy is struggling. Our teams and loved ones are afraid. We are afraid.
These are tough times, and the stress can be overwhelming and hard to process. But among the grim news, there is a silver lining in the response of our fellow Americans: I have witnessed firsthand the best of humanity in these last few weeks.
For too long, our country has been divided along deeply etched lines. But today, people aren’t talking about politics. Instead, they are offering words of encouragement during times that are trying for everyone. Neighbors are offering to buy groceries for the elderly. Families are playing outside with their kids. Communities are setting up donation drives to provide our healthcare workers with supplies. Parents are collaborating on how to best home-school their children. And those children are picking up extra responsibilities to help out around the house while parents work from home. People are taking time to thank those in essential roles who they may not have acknowledged before. We are rediscovering patience, empathy, and kindness.
This is a time for us to slow down our normal frenetic pace and to use this opportunity to be deeply thankful. Thankful for our first responders, our healthcare workers and medical professionals, our cleaning crews, our market stockers and bag checkers, our delivery drivers and drive-through workers. We recognize the risks they take every day for us and that we cannot make it through this without them—the backbone of our country.
As a whole, the U.S. has had it good for a long time. We’ve enjoyed prosperity through a bull market, a strong economy, and low unemployment rates. But we haven’t been as concerned with showing kindness to our neighbors, especially those with whom we might not agree, where commonly divisive areas are concerned. Perhaps as a nation, we can rediscover our humanity and sense of unity. Perhaps we become better people as this virus puts things into clearer perspective. If we can become less self-absorbed and more giving, less focused on inconveniences and more focused on the greater good, then perhaps we come out of this experience proud of ourselves, and proud of a response to a crisis that even the Greatest Generation could admire.