How the Pandemic has Strengthened Senior-Junior Relationships

Globally, over “40 million people have tested positive for COVID-19 with over 1 million deaths”, as of November 4th. Most of these cases are people between 16 and 40 of age according to the World Health Organization. Statistics showed that less than 2% of the youth affected by COVID-19 develop complicated health issues but more than 50% of people of more than 65 years old who are touched by the same virus can suffer minor to severe health complications. About 60% of COVID-19 cases today are of people that are less than 40 years old, however, over 60% of deaths are of people over 45 years old”.

So, even though they do not develop major health complications, the youth are still affected by this pandemic which makes them responsible for protecting the older generations from getting infected by the virus.

During lockdown, around the world, social distance level has been raised to 2.5 meters, as people were required to take a break from physical gatherings and stick to the most effective preventive measure: social distancing. Everyone refrained from going to public facilities such as cafes and restaurants and postponed or canceled all unnecessary meetings. Eventually, physical distancing helped and most countries removed the lockdown restrictions during summer but the numbers of COVID-19 cases witnessed a considerable rise with people regaining their normal life rhythm. However, today there is an overwhelming fear of the second waves around Europe and several African countries. This second wave could be more severe if youth do not practice social distancing from their more vulnerable loved ones.

No one doubts that COVID-19 is one of the direst threats the world has ever faced. And yet, amidst the confusion and anxiety, there are ever stronger signs of hope and solidarity, a sense of, and desire for, togetherness.

It is this spirit of solidarity and global togetherness that gives us hope. In this time of crisis, we are all neighbors in the world, and success will only be achieved when all people, in all countries, are protected.

Thankfully, this shared sense of responsibility has seen the world come together in ways that we have not seen for some time, and the examples are everywhere: in France for instance, some young people volunteered to do older people’s chores to prevent them from going out and put their lives at risk. All around the world, people used social media groups to give online courses for free for young students who were prevented from going to school.

What does it mean to be in solidarity? It means to carry the burden of another person. No one is an island all alone. We are bound to each other even if we do not know it. The landscape binds us, flesh and blood bind us, work and speech bind us. However, we are not always conscious of these bonds. When solidarity is born, this consciousness is awakened, and then speech and word appear- and at that point something that was hidden becomes manifest. All our bonds become visible. Then one person shoulders the burden of another.” – Jozef Tischner, Spirit of Solidarity.

More than that, solidarity refers to objective standards and values. It refers to the ties in a society that bind people together and because what ties us in during this dire time is wearing a mask and keeping a distance from one another, then that is what we should do.

As youth, we found ourselves responsible for protecting our grandparents and the elderly in the building living with us. One way would be to use phones to check up on our parents and grandparents and limit the visit to twice a month to ensure their safety. As His Holiness, The Dalai Lama said “we all share this small planet Earth, we have to learn to live in harmony and peace with each other and with nature. That is not just a dream, but a necessity. We are dependent on each other in so many ways that we can no longer live in isolated communities and ignore what is happening outside those communities. We need to help each other when we have difficulties, and we must share the good fortune that we enjoy”. I personally found myself thinking of people around me before thinking about myself whenever I put my mask, wash my hands and call my friends and family instead of just going to visit. My sense of responsibility, solidarity and my choice to freedom for excellence as a path in life has grown since taking WYA’s Certified Training Program.

Published: November 25, 2020
By Moutiaa Gouaida, a WYAMENA Regional Online Intern