The Summer of COVID: 5 Questions To Ask To Protect Our Kids

Each second we live in a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that never was before and will never be again.

Pau Casals, by way of Brainpickings

Listen 7:44

Having kids is the best reminder of this. When they’re little, so much for them is new and exciting and marvelous. Just a simple ladybug on a leaf is cause for wide eyes and glee and shouts of “Mommy, COME!” The little humans want to share in their excitement, and who better than with someone they love.

The most lovely thing is that you find yourself actually getting excited to see something as mundane as a ladybug on a leaf — because you know how incredible it is to your littles. And something incredible to the littles is something incredible to the parents and everyone else who loves those littles. It truly is a marvelous thing. Kids are a lot of work, yes, but, man, do they make the mundane marvelous.

Pau Casals was a child once and later became a famous cellist who had the opportunity to play in the White House for John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy and guests in 1961. A marvel to behold — for both Casals and the Kennedys. And not a mundane marvel. There is something transporting about good music, and to say that Casals produced good music would be an understatement. The President was so taken with Casals and his music that two years later, he awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, an award not often given to foreigners. But days before the ceremony, Kennedy was assassinated.

Casals was devastated. As was much of the world.

I think sometimes when you find a good friend, a kindred spirit, you are transported to the childhood wonder of the ladybug on the leaf. Interestingly, after Kennedy’s assassination, Casals felt compelled to write about . . . children:

Each second we live in a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that never was before and will never be again. And what do we teach our children in school? We teach them that two and two makes four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all of the world there is no other child exactly like you. In the millions of years that have passed there has never been another child like you. And look at your body — what a wonder it is! Your legs, your arms, your cunning fingers, the way you move! You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel? You must cherish one another. You must work — we all must work — to make this world worthy of its children.

Joy and Sorrows

Two and two makes four, and I want my kids to know that. But I need to remind myself that learning is so much more than that. I want my kids to learn about who they are — that they are a marvel, that they are unique, that there is no child in the world like them. I want my kids to learn to cherish one another (a lesson they force upon themselves every day as they seem to always default to fighting with each other). I want them to grow up doing everything in their power not to harm one another.

So what message are we communicating to our most cherished children when we are in a pandemic, there are no vaccines for the young kids, and yet everything seems to be life as normal? My kids got COVID from going to church, a place where you wouldn’t even know there was a pandemic still happening — no masks, crowds of kids, and, come to find out afterward, unvaccinated adult leaders. But in the States, this seems to be pretty normal. Kids church and sleepaway summer camp and indoor trampoline parks and indoor birthday parties (because it’s too hot outside, of course) and various other crowded events.

The message I most often see these days is that if kids get COVID, they will either be asymptomatic or their symptoms will be super mild.

My kids’ symptoms were not mild: they experienced fevers, lethargy, body aches, coughs, general discomfort, and trouble sleeping at night. My nine-year-old spiked to 104.9o F a couple of times. It was scary, and I wouldn’t wish it on any kid. Two full days of sickness and then the lingering cough that persists as I write this (over two weeks later) — no, this was not “mild.” And my kids (ages 9, 6 this Sunday, and 2) are healthy and active.

What audacity we adults have to live life as normal during these very much not normal times. Just because we can get vaccinated, we think “Oh, the kids will be fine.” And for the adults who haven’t gotten COVID, choose not to get vaccinated, then work closely with kids without wearing a mask, and then give kids COVID, I say this: you are negligent and reckless.

So how can we live a full life and attend events in a world where kids aren’t vaccinated? My advice is to be keenly observant and ask questions:

  1. The of-vaccinated-age humans who will be working with the kids: are they required to be vaccinated? Will they be required to wear masks?
  2. How much of the event will be indoors? Will we know the vaccinated status of the people who will be in attendance?
  3. Will the guests be asked and advised to remain home if they have symptoms, even if they think it’s just a cold?
  4. If someone from the event does contract COVID, how will I be notified?
  5. What, if any, extra precautions will be taken for the kids to prevent their contracting COVID?

And don’t forget to be observant. I wish I had been that fateful day at church. If anything feels off to you, just leave. Remember: the world is still experiencing a pandemic. You are absolutely justified to work in the best interests of your kids. And the preceding questions are reasonable. If you are met with hostility when asking any of these, just remind yourself: You love your kids — period.

Let’s treat our children with respect. They are marvels. They are unique. They are to be cherished.

And to my sesame seed baby: I love you already. You are a fighter, sticking around through my having COVID. I am hoping that you’ll stick around all the way until March. Sesame seeds may be mundane, but you are anything but.

Let’s work to make this world worthwhile for our children. That may start with protecting them from COVID.

6 thoughts on “The Summer of COVID: 5 Questions To Ask To Protect Our Kids

  1. ropheka July 15, 2021 / 9:20 pm

    Sorry to hear about your children.

    My brother, his wife, his daughter and son in law and two grandchildren got both the shots. They all contracted covid. He was rushed to the hospital and got worse. He knew he was going to die and told the doctor not to put him on a ventilator. The doctor did anyways. He suffered in extreme agony for two weeks before he died an agonizing death.

    I use Gods medicine ( herbal medicine and have been for over forty years ). I have not been sick for over forty years.

    I refuse to get that shot as it is not a vaccine. I do not wear a face mask ( they are coming out now and saying they knew all along face masks were ineffective as was lock down).

    I get my covid information from Dr.


  2. Krysta August 2, 2021 / 11:53 pm

    Remember that all of life is balancing risks and that everyone weights risks differently.

    As such we must all be smart and informed about what is going on around us and ask those questions you list among others.

    The pandemic has taught many lessons – some people learned some and not others, some probably learned many and some probably learned nothing.

    I am thankful that none of you needed hospitalization!

    Many people have “tunneled” around the subject of COVID-19. (Not sure if this is just a gamer term so I’ll define.) It means focusing on one thing to the exclusion of everything else. I’m gaming this often means you are so focused DPSing (doing damage to) the boss that you forget to move out of the fire and your character dies.
    One example of this is so much fear of contracting COVID-19 that you fail to see the Dr for other life threatening reasons like heart disease or cancer.
    Another is focusing so much on the misinformation out of the government and experts that now you don’t believe a word they say even when it’s obvious that covid is a reality with real risks.
    (Just to name 2 that are usually opposed)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jen Knapp August 3, 2021 / 12:05 am

      Love the analogy to gaming!! And so true. The focus on misinformation to the point of writing off most (all?) science or experts is sad. And the tunneling element: I see this also as trying to get to the boss but not realizing or caring that you’ve run over and hurt other people in the process.

      The weighing of risks is a conversation I’ve had with a few people. If you see that the risks of the side-effects of the vaccine and the risks of contracting COVID are basically equal (this is the opinion of some of the people I’ve talked to), but getting the vaccine could help others, I argue that that tips the scale.

      What I’m realizing is that some people simply won’t be persuaded. Period.

      All I know is, I’m happy and honored to be fully vaccinated at this point. 😁


      • Krysta August 3, 2021 / 1:58 am

        Certainly there are those risks to consider.
        In addition, regarding lock downs that consider only the current health rush of covid without any regard to long term economic risks that ill effect health as well and other mental and physical risks associated with both deferral of treatment and testing for other ills and isolation, suicidal risks.

        And each person has a unique health situation with unique needs that they should consider, hopefully in cooperation with whatever professionals like doctors are relevant to them.

        Yes, I was able to get fully vaccinated by May and quite happy to have that protection. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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