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“Care for Everyone” is More than Masks and Social Distancing

Benches lined up in a row

If there’s one thing that COVID-19 has taught us, it’s that we should be looking out for others. That means taking care of one another, even if the other person is a complete stranger.

Right now we’ve been asked to “care for everyone” by practicing social distancing and wearing masks in public.

But I think that taking care of everyone implies much more than that. It means adopting a culture of kindness. It means stopping for a moment to help when you see someone in need. It means habitually thinking about the welfare of others.

I’m concerned that some of the current COVID-19 measures – the ubiquitous warnings about mask-wearing, social distancing, etc. – may actually have an antithetical effect on us.

You need only go to the grocery store to see this. In some ways, the current climate is telling us that the person you don’t know who’s standing in the aisle close to you is to be avoided at all costs. If you didn’t think that yourself, the recorded store-wide announcement will repetitively tell you so.

Speaking of the grocery store, in my limited public outings I’ve noticed something that’s got me thinking. Perhaps it has struck a chord with you too.

Have you noticed that a mask covers a smile?

What happens to a society when a smile – the most universal sign of human happiness, warmth, and connection – must be covered up?

Obviously, public health advisories are important and should be heeded.

However, I’m looking forward to the day that we can drop the masks, shake hands, and actually care for one another without worrying about how much space is between us.