It’s been a very difficult year for many, especially kids. No school, no sports, no socializing. This is an unprecedented period in which people are largely unable to be with other people. Studies have shown that over a third of people depend on socializing with others each day, and more than 50 million kids normally interact with friends in public schools. COVID-19 put a virtual stop to all of that.
So, what now? How do people, especially kids, respond when they can’t readily interact with others? During the school year, there were various approaches implemented to provide online learning, but many kids, especially younger kids, were not fulfilled by that approach, and group activities did not happen. Parents across the nation worked hard to provide structure, including class lessons, book reading sessions and outdoor exercise. Many parents did this while also learning how to work from home. Still, others were either furloughed or lost their jobs and had to manage childcare, teaching, and fending for the basics with severely reduced incomes. Normal family life was shattered all too often.
Young kids don’t typically see the bigger picture, and many still understandably wanted the things and experiences that were normal for them. So, what about sports, baseball for example, a major spring sport across the land? Few, if any, youth baseball leagues operated in the spring of 2020, and Little League cancelled its annual international baseball tournament. While books on baseball, both fiction and nonfiction, may have satisfied the baseball needs for some over a short time, they may have also enhanced the desire to play for the most dedicated ballplayers. Realistic baseball fiction, for example, builds on the life experiences that many have while playing the game, and a good book could inspire kids to want to take the field despite local prohibitions due to COVID-19. Parents certainly made more judgment calls this spring than any youth league umpire would typically make in a season.
This period, like others, will pass, but the kids of COVID-19 will have memories and lost opportunities that few have experienced in the history of humankind. A silver lining may be that many kids will have stories to tell that demonstrate an innate human ability to overcome difficult circumstances with innovative solutions.