Above all else: protect the children

From the time we were expecting our first child, at least until the last one left for college, I saw myself as having ONE JOB ABOVE ALL OTHERS: protecting my children and keeping them safe. Nothing else really mattered. Our first pregnancy ended in miscarriage and so we were frantic to protect the next child. We read of a possible link between waterbeds and miscarriage, so we slept in the twin beds in the guest room until the baby arrived safely.  Even if there was a microscopic chance that the waterbed could harm our child, it was worth the extra precaution. From doctor visits to nutrition to car seats to outlet covers to bike helmets to anticipating any possible dangers at home or at school, their mother and I were vigilant in keeping them safe and well.  (Once when a carseat check determined that JonDavid’s seat wasn’t up to standard, their grandpa–my dad–gave me his credit card and told me to go an buy the safest carseat I could find. Getting my kids safely over the finish line of adulthood was always priority one for me.

As such, I am flabbergasted by the bizarre world in which we find ourselves in which parents are protesting against mask safety, fighting for their child’s constitutional right to get (and possibly die of) COVID. So deep and irrational is their devotion to the former president, that they gladly use their children as a sacrificial offering.  Because Trump insisted on virus-denial and mask and vaccine resistance as hallmarks of devotion among his followers, we find parents punching teachers because of mask policy; an Austin TX father assaulted a teacher and ripped the mask off his face!  Angry parents are protesting school boards for attempting to keep students safe.  We have murderous governors in Florida and Texas legally forbidding schools from having a mask policy, even withholding the salaries of superintendents who defy their orders. Superintendents fighting to protect their students and teachers will now have to work without pay.  The world has gone mad. A simple face covering might protect your child from a deadly virus that has killed more than four million people worldwide. WHY THE HELL WOULD ANY PARENT RESIST that added measure of safety?!

Imagine how ridiculous we look to the rest of the world: countries who can only dream of our access to free vaccines. How I grieve the deadly politicization of this virus by the former president.  If only we could have UNITED to fight it instead of using it to increase the bitter divisions in our nation.  How many untold thousands of Americans would still be alive? And now I’m faced with preparing the next generation of earnest young teachers for this chaos in our classrooms and schools.  Please deserve them.  Please honor the incredibly challenging work being done by schools during the Pandemic.  Please make their lives easier, and safer.

When I don’t understand the other side of an argument, I try to consider it from the other person’s perspective.  So if you get all your information from FOX News or from Trump himself, maybe you believe that the entire virus is a hoax, or that masks don’t work, or that the vaccine doesn’t work.  I can (maybe?) see that. But you know what, where my kids are concerned: I err on the side of caution….Every. Damn. Time.  Ask yourself: How will you feel if you are wrong?  The worst that can happen to me is that I put up with the minor annoyance of wearing a mask around other people. The worst that can happen to you: you lose your kid.

Let’s fight the virus instead of each other.

Published by timnichols

First and foremost, I’m a dad. After that, by day I am a professor of Education at Alfred University, by night I'm a dog lover, a cancer survivor, and a daydreamer. Here are some thoughts and lessons learned from my journey…

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