OPINION – There is little doubt the days ahead will be challenging and difficult as the pandemic numbers rise once again. We all need to be forward thinking to better days ahead in 2021. In the meantime, to keep spirits up, to alleviate the stresses brought about by lifestyle changes, to deal with our own new realities, supporting one another is essential. We need to face the future with renewed sense of purpose, a strong sense of togetherness.

Richard Longworth column header

 We are blessed with an abundance of keen imaginations, visionaries, willing hearts in our communities who may want to or are already striving to make a difference. We have rich resources and resourceful individuals at our disposal to enhance the quality of our day to day experiences. What we lack is at times connectivity or the wherewithal to utilize these to achieve positive outcomes and a greater sense of security and well being for all.

Too often, we rely solely on the government for solutions and overlook our individual skill sets and strengths to support and fulfill the needs of others. The social fabric we relied on in the past has been torn to shreds. Children, young adults, adults, the elderly have been drastically affected by the recent pandemic. Every segment of our society is suffering in one way or another. Action is required during these uncertain times. An opportunity has been created for us to rethink our lives to discover new ways to care, share and be there for each other. This is the time to create something better, more functional and advantageous. This is the time to follow a harmonious path working together to develop vigorous plans and collective experiments in individual communities to enrich our interactions and create happier lives.

Suggestions abound. Listed are practical, useful tools to do just that. Each of these could play vital roles in supporting the everchanging landscape of our times. Refer to the recommended sites or contribute your own suggestions (in the comment section below) or ideas for the benefit of social good.

For starters, I would suggest the recent website on COVID-19 Resources, that was developed in Carp. If you click on the link you will find 11 well-researched categories, each containing a list of thousands of ‘things to do’ during the pandemic.

The school year is playing havoc with many parents. Should we keep our children at home or let them return to school? How will working parents manage if a child shows any symptoms associated with COVID-19? The next suggestion is a site for four to 16-year-olds on developing social-emotional skills while housebound. It is not a school curriculum, but an excellent resource for developing coping skills, improving self-concepts, self-improvement, kindness and empathy, at a time when ‘soft skills’ are badly needed. The site for this gem can be found at Big Life Journal (Canada).

Next, we have a list of more general suggestions that could be developed in local communities. Examples such as Facebook groups where parents help one another and their children to cope at school and home. Virtual and physical youth groups based on self-concepts, growth mindsets, group coping skills led by educators, psychologists, church seniors. Brain thrusts where interested individuals meet weekly at coffee shops to discuss their ideas.

In heavily populated areas, examples of experiments that have been initiated to alleviate COVID-19 concerns in urban communities. These include squats, community projects, TEAL organizations, fearless communities, autonomous zones and open-source projects.

Take the time to explore some of these sites. Each one of these listed suggestions could play a crucial support role alleviating stress and empowering the mindset that we are not alone, but we are in these pandemic times together.

Stay safe, stay healthy and stay engaged. Life is good!

For 40 years Richard Longworth worked as a systems analyst and university professor at Capilano University teaching math, information technology, and system analysis and implementation. Longworth has published three books Reflections on Life Issues, Turning the Self Inside Out, and Harnessing the Internet into a Knowledge Framework – all related to technology and trends in the industry.