During the last couple of months of 2020, I started asking people I was interviewing, “What lessons have you learned during this tough pandemic-ridden year?” To my joy, I received many positive and informative comments.
From a few local businesses, I heard about refinements in their online ordering systems, which I can only imagine will continue to provide the quality customer service they want to offer.
I also had people tell me that they have improved cleanliness all around. This came from business owners to schools and perhaps most importantly, individuals.
We are all also washing our hands more, learning to listen to our bodies if we don’t feel good and being smart about staying away from large groups.
So as the first month of 2021 rolls along, I challenged myself to think about what lessons I learned last year and early this year. I wonder if those lessons will continue into the latter months of this year. I also started thinking about the lessons others have taught me.
First, there are lessons from those who offer the lessons five days a week in the classroom and virtually — teachers.
I have listened to teachers who teach kindergartners and learned how their students are managing to wear masks without too much correction, probably better than most adults.
In Kearney, a survey among elementary teachers went out before winter break. Due to the needs of students, elementary school teachers don’t get much of a break.
Of all the possible needs and wants, the teachers sought to have coffee pots in their rooms so they didn’t have to find time to trudge down the hallway to the teachers’ lounge. This was a simple request that the district was able to answer to help take care of those who work each day to educate others.
I have also had the chance to see a variety of people receive the vaccine to combat COVID-19. I spent some time with seniors at Oak Pointe assisted living facility. I have to admit, seniors that were receiving the shots were downright jovial.
The nurses at North Kansas City and Liberty hospitals also had that same sort of enthusiasm. Then there were the clients and employees at Life Unlimited.
The director of nursing and the director of facilities united to get the place where the shots could be administered. For the outside observer, it was as if the dark, gloomy clouds that have sat above us all due to the coronavirus were beginning to lighten.
Those served by Life Unlimited remarked that with the vaccine they can get together with friends and family again.
I loved every minute I listened to them talk. They had isolated themselves as many of them are in the high-risk category. But, like all of us, they want to be among friends again.
I guess that is the biggest lesson I have learned, that we can come out the other side of this pandemic finding a little bit of happiness in the simple things.