Rob Oxford: It's important to focus on the positive

Sunday, March 22, 2020

The second of two Recovery Center buildings was built on
Shoreline soccer field Saturday
Photo by Carl Dinse
By Rob Oxford

The seriousness of the Covid 19 virus outbreak is not lost on this writer, I can assure you.

Although we currently have plenty of toilet paper in our home and don’t feel the need to stockpile large quantities, like all of you I have certain issues that raise concern.

Not the least of which are the thousands of people who have been adversely affected by school and business closures.

My wife is a paraeducator who wants nothing more than to be at school with her students and fellow teachers. For them, this is NOT considered an extended vacation.

In fact, at the time of this writing Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly announced that the school year has officially ended for all K – 12th Graders in her state. 

At this time no such action for Washington has been announced. Which means our students, especially those who are seniors, may still have the opportunity to enjoy a shortened final trimester. The one in which annuals are passed out to be signed, Prom takes place and most importantly a graduation ceremony.

Many of my good friends own small restaurants and the temporary closures of such establishments will affect them greatly. As a family we are doing our best to support them by ordering takeout food and for the time being, you can do the same. (Shoreline Area News: Restaurants open for delivery and To Go orders)

Then of course there’s “Social Distancing.” For our children, this is the most difficult of all suggested precautions currently not mandated, but highly suggested.

As the father of two teenage sons, trying to discourage them from hanging out with friends is more challenging than asking them to hang up their towels after taking a shower or put their dirty dishes in the dishwasher.

The most concerning issue of course are the ramifications of possibly spreading the virus to those in our community who are most susceptible. Those with underlying health conditions or the very young and the very old.

Let me state unequivocally that I am not an expert in infectious disease like Kid Rock or Dr. Drew Pinsky. But at a time like this, common sense goes a long way. We must remember to use ours.

The current deluge of information concerning this pandemic is fluid and changing all the time. 

Although the tenor has changed and most people have grasped the severity, many who wholeheartedly support the President felt the initial media coverage of the coronavirus was “overkill” and “unnecessarily causing hysteria.” Thankfully, in just a few days, that attitude seems to have changed.

Although we’re occasionally still hearing the term “Fake News,” it appears it is currently being used much less. I’ve long felt that media outlets or news programs, if they have any credibility at all, which most do, simply report the information they have been given. 

Often it's with a political slant that best suits their viewership, but it has always been the responsibility of the viewer or “consumer” to do their own research, just as when buying a new car or a home. When should you ever take a salesperson's…“word for it”?

Of course, there are editorials and opinion pieces such as the one you are currently reading with which you may agree or disagree, but at any time you are welcome to close a web browser or change the channel.

I think it’s important to be concerned. It’s important to consider the advice of the experts, but at the same time I think it’s also important to focus on the positives that are coming from all of this and at this time there are proving to be many.

  • Some stores are now dedicating the first several hours of each business day to allow elderly customers to shop safely without fear of getting sick.
  • Tuesday at 1:30pm, a Dad who told me he was telecommuting for the next several weeks, was taking a break to show his 7-year-old son how to dribble a basketball left handed.
  • Although professional sports have been put on hold, athletes and teams are pledging to pay the wages of arena employees during the shutdown.
  • Utility companies, landlords, home financers, various lenders and internet providers are waiving late fees and payments to ease financial burden.
  • School districts across the country are still serving meals to kids and families.
  • For the first time in many years our youngest sat in the living room on a Saturday night and watched an entire movie with his parents.
  • While the family vacation I had been planning for several months had to be cancelled, the money I am saving will be used to buy stock at a discount.
  • Home projects are being completed.
  • More blessings than ever before are currently being counted.

Finally, when was the last time anyone was able to drive from Everett to Downtown Seattle in 15 minutes?

It appears we may still have a long way to go. But if we can somehow be kind to each other, listen to the real experts and heed their advice, when life gets back to normal, maybe it will be the type of normal we can all better appreciate.

When I was very small and bothered by a situation, my Mother would say “look on the bright side.” It’s a phrase I was never able to fully appreciate until now.


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