Family and neighbors: they’re always with us, but our busy schedules may not allow us to spend as much time with them as we’d like.
The Opinion of the Smoke Signal Editorial Board
Imagine: there’s no school, no set daily structure in your life, and you’re limited within the confines of your home. Weekdays and weekends blend into one. You can’t bond with your friends in person. On March 13, this became a reality: FUSD initiated a districtwide school closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision to cancel the remaining portion of the school year followed shortly after.
This pandemic took lives and broke families; it’s a force that no army or government can conquer. We are more than lucky to live in a community with adequate medical resources and hospital personnel. Although our hearts go out to COVID-19 victims, healthcare professionals, and first responders, we’ve all had our own complaints with shelter-in-place.. Restricted to our homes, quarantine reminds us of all the time we could be spending with our friends and classmates instead. However, this lockdown provides the ideal opportunity to slow down our lives and appreciate the people we live with. During the school year, we may feel the need to prioritize homework and extracurricular commitments over family time. In fact, according to rcg.org, “a poll of 2,000 parents conducted by Virgin Holidays and Universal Orlando Resort found that families spend about 36 minutes per weekday together.” Swamped by our hectic daily schedules, we sometimes forget about our parents, who provide food and a roof over our heads and teach us essential life skills as we grow, or our siblings, who accompany us on outdoor adventures or homemade cooking endeavors no matter the conflict. The extra time that comes along with school closure should be spent with family. Quarantine can also serve as a time to form meaningful relationships outside of the house. You can catch up with your neighbors after a daily walk — staying six feet apart, of course.
It can be easy to take our family and neighbors for granted. After all, they’ve been within arm’s reach for the majority of our lives. However, we are all rapidly approaching the next chapter of our lives. Many of us will no longer be able to fall back on the communities we’ve grown up in. For seniors, that reality is just months away; the current stay-at-home situation may be the last time they will have extended time with their families and access to their advice.
We may not think about the many ways our community benefits us, but we will notice its absence when we make the leap to independence. Make the most of your time at home and invest in community relationships. Whether it’s dropping off groceries for an elderly neighbor, playing board games with your family, or learning how to cook from your grandparents, take advantage of every opportunity to engage with the people around you. Netflix, TikTok, and League of Legends will always be waiting for you, but time spent at home with your family and community will become increasingly hard to come by.
Graphic by Opinion Editor Aria Lakhmani