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The Snoop

by Sue Curry Jones

If per chance you read a national newspaper quite often, you are well-versed in mainstream media headlines and how they paint a discouraging and depressing picture of our country today.  The truth is, however, no one really has a solid grasp on what the future holds following this period of COVID-19 reality.  

Today’s news coverage proves to be no different than past world wide events, especially when compared to WWI, WWII or Great Depression.   

Upon looking back, images from those days also paint a devastating picture of gloom and doom –– families and children waiting in food lines that extended for city blocks.  There were photos of dust bowl family members standing near their farmhouse, both covered in dirt and debris.  Then there were images of crowds making runs on banks.  Heartbreaking images, promoting a bleak and disheartening  future.

Today’s media presentation is no different –– here are a few headlines from the April 24, 2020 issue of The Wall Street Journal: 

“Business activity in the U.S. Europe and Japan collapsed in April…” 

“U.S. grocers are struggling to secure meat, looking for new suppliers…” 

“Gap’s Cash Pile Gets Dangerously Low” 

Closer to home in Missouri, The Kansas City Star prints similar headlines with “Johnson County nursing home deaths detailed, renters fear eviction.”

All currently showcasing sad, depressing and scary accounts.   In addition, each medium also has a special section entitled ‘navigating COVID-19’ or ‘facts to know about the coronavious’.  Offering more hopeless options and news.   

There is no doubt our world is in turmoil.  There is no doubt the death toll is an alarming fact and current lifestyle choices are constrained.  It truly is depressing that over the past five to six months, many have lost family members.  Others displaced. None of these events and challenges are welcomed.  But they have been cause for complying with the precautionary rules.  

Amid chaos there are positives.  These headlines are buried in back sections and require searching.  Here is one that caught my attention, it was also in April 24th issue of The Wall Street Journal stating, “Virus Outbreak Alters American Shopping Lists.”  

The article discusses how consumers are cooking and cleaning more than ever, and spending less time and money on unnecessary items. The write-up notes some consumers have come to accept the ‘new normal’ as a preferred lifestyle choice.  Many will continue to embrace change after the virus constraints are removed.  

The positive outlook is for Americans to continue to focus on home life and adhere to a more peaceful family-centered lifestyle, eliminating the hectic schedule of running here, running there, grabbing fast food on the way.  Instead, families will continue to choose spending time at home together, as they once again have learned the joy of family meals, playing together, and focusing on home.  The joy of making family a priority.  

Statistics from the last few months show a change in behaviors and focus, noting a solid rise in the purchasing of items needed for home-cooked meals.  Stats also have recorded an exceptionally high demand for eco-friendly products, which shows the public’s concern for sustainability and environmental issues.  Another mindset change.

After the Great Depression was over, many Americans discovered their focus had changed.  They were  overtly frugal and thrifty even though the economy had returned to a stable balance.  Conservative spending had become a permanent way of life.  We’ve likely witnessed those actions in our grandparents, and parents. 

Today, because of this worldwide pandemic, COVID-19 has spurred us to find new ways to connect ––

Families are investing more time in each other. 

Productive interests and hobbies such as reading or learning a foreign language, are actively pursued.   

Philanthropic acts and generosity toward others is on the rise.  

Board games have been resurrected, and competitive card games are now being taught to kids.

Pastimes such as old-fashioned, simple parades have been organized, with enthusiastic participation from all ages.

And, with everyone staying home more, technology has become a venue for personal creativity.  The internet is now being used as an outlet for showcasing encouragement and uplifting messages.  For  viewing family videos and performances by novice entertainers.  Zoo cams and gardening sites have also become more popular.  Users are participating in virtual events, as well as connecting with friends and family more frequently.  Videos that touch the heart are more prevalent.   

As a sequestered society, people are paying more attention to home, neighbors, seniors, those in need, hygiene, cleanliness, and more.  

Changes are taking place with a keen sense of awareness, a focus that requires being in the moment and choosing to be more considerate of others.

Moving forward, let’s continue to focus on maintaining positive lifestyle behaviors. And, may we also continue to search for uplifting stories and positive changes –– the happy and heart-lifting reality stories in the back sections.  

Both are worth our commitment. 

And today, as local businesses are on the cusp of normal operations, consider making it a priority to spend at home, to support and boost our local economy.  Indeed, another worthwhile action to consider.