Pay attention to this week’s needs

In “Getting Through This Moment”, Dr. Mindy Fullilove outlines five principles for ‘getting through the disaster’:

  1. Turn on the love
  2. Pay attention to this week’s needs
  3. Fight injustice
  4. Extend and strengthen your network
  5. Build a personal foundation of spirit

This week we turn our attention to #2- Pay attention to this week’s needs.

Our needs change every day in a disaster situation.  While going through the aftermath of 9/11, I found that the cover of New York Magazine was the best indicator of the feeling tone of the city.  They really had their ears to the ground. I learned from them that I could do that, too. Each of us can do “citizen science” by watching our social media feed, seeing what the newspapers are reporting, and listening to the emotions our friends and family are sharing.  A meme from NY Week 1 said, “Relationships aren’t cancelled.” Another from NY Week 2 said, “It’s time to change from your daytime pajamas to your nighttime pajamas.” 

In this process, let go of the issues of last week – New Yorkers aren’t frantically buying toilet paper in week 2, they’re hysterical about working at home with kids out of school, or worse, of losing their income because they CAN’T leave home while the kids are out of school.  Or they’re hysterical because they must go to work and there are no adequate protections in place, the complaints reported by those working for UPS and Amazon.

Note that I labelled the weeks by place, as we aren’t all on the same page.  Epidemics travel along a geographical hierarchy, meaning they get to the flyover states from the coast cities – there is a lag.  The lag is often interpreted as “it can’t happen here.” Don’t buy that line of reasoning. Use the time to listen to what other places are going through, then buy carefully.  You might skip the toilet paper craze and spend your time planning balanced menus. I didn’t have an appreciation of variety, but you could learn from my mistake. And be sure to get lots of Vitamin C, D, and zinc tabs to have on hand. 

The point of this citizen science is that you need to respond to this week’s challenges.  Start numbering the weeks with your group and sharing what you think are the big issues. Then, together, look for strategies to solve the problems.  And know that the problems are time limited. This week’s problems will be solved, or they will go away. We don’t know why there was a run on toilet paper, but we can let that issue go and focus on the challenge of home-schooling our whole child-age population.  Did you ever think what a blessing the US has so many homeschoolers who’ve been doing this for a while? What a resource in this moment!

Take Action!

This week, New Jersey Week #5 by our count, the big issue is masks! We recommend this video in the New York Times on how to make a quick t-shirt mask. We’ll add additional mask resources throughout the week here and on our social media. If you have any tips, or examples of masks you’ve seen or made, send them our way!

UPDATE: Mindy, Becky, Karen, and Doug sat down and talked about the masks they are making- ranging from hand-sewn masks made with custom fabrics to the no-sew, fool-proof t-shirt masks from the NY Times.

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