The Responsibility of Caring

Many years ago, I read a book by Robert Fulghum called “All I Really Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten.” You may have read it also. It is a precious book, and there is a 25th edition out with new essays.

As I thought about what we learned from our discussion with Dr. Blackstone, from Bon Secours St. Francis Health System, I thought about lessons we learned since we were children. We learned to wash our hands before eating or after using the bathroom. We learned to cover our mouth if we coughed or sneezed. That has now been modified to cough or sneeze into your elbow so as not to get germs on your hand. We learned to stay home and stay away from others if we were sick.

Some of the cleanliness practices and social distancing practices we hear about today are not new. What is new is the masks. What is new is not being able to hug or shake hands or get closer than 6 feet with someone outside of your home. What is new is the limited activities available to us because so many things have been cancelled. In Robert Folghum’s book, the 11th lesson is

“Live a balanced life – learn some and drink some and draw some and sing and dance and play

and work every day some.”

Are you doing this? Self-care is ultimately important now. Ask yourself these questions.

  • What have you learned today?
  • What are you doing that is creative?
  • Are you finding time to be silly, to laugh, to sing, dance and play?
  • What are you working on, or better yet, does work have to be for pay or is it something you are doing for yourself?

You can’t care for others from an empty well, so be sure to find ways to practice self-care.

Another beautiful philosopher was Fred Rogers. I just finished listening to a podcast series called “Finding Fred.” I think there were about 10 episodes and I was sorry when I finished the last episode. So much simple wisdom from Mr. Rogers. He reminded us about kindness and loving ourselves and loving each other. He also reminded us about responsibility. He said,

The first responders, the hospital personnel, anyone on the front lines dealing with the illnesses that have shown up in this pandemic are heroes. But like the first line of this quote says, “we live in a world in which we need to share responsibility.”

Wear your masks, practice social distancing, protect yourself and others. Be kind. Vote. We need to share the responsibility of caring.

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