Welcome aboard! It is an open invitation to everyone to fasten your seat belt! Whether you like it or not, seat belt is your lifeline and if it’s not used, just consider you are prone to failure. As COVID-19 cases rise and fall during the months ahead, the chaos will likely continue, with schools shutting down and reopening as needed to balance educational needs with protecting the health of students, teachers, and families.
Parents, schools, and entire education systems—especially in the state—will need to play new roles to support student learning as the situation remains in flux, perhaps permanently. As it’s the responsibility of the pilot to tell everyone in the plane to wear the seat belt, I invite you my dear viewers to fasten yours. The public needs to change its mindset and be more responsible on the journey till normalcy returns. Even in these troubled and divided times, there is hope around us that we can and will do better. Our future depends on us changing our world, no matter how hard it is. It is clear we have wasted too much time already. No more excuses. No more justifications. No more defending the status quo. The time is now to get to work and build a future together that works for each and every one of us.
The pandemic has brought pain and misery in the lives of millions of people all over the world with deaths and severe illness of loved ones, loss of livelihoods, increased levels of poverty etc. It was a moment of deep and sombre reflection for many people, with a paradigm shift in their outlook of life. In short, the pandemic is a black swan event, a once in history occurrence with deep impact. But by now, enough studies exist that suggest it is here to stay. It would be understandable if one, as a student, took some time to grasp the changing circumstances and to come to terms with the varied consequences of the pandemic in the initial stages.
Enough time has elapsed now for us to be dazed by the pandemic’s initial confusion and there is no reason for us to still be confused now. If one has been spared by the coronavirus and has been given a free pass at a physically and mentally healthy existence during the pandemic, it is a true privilege and blessing from God. Even in such a circumstance, if a student would just want to look at the pandemic as a holiday and continue to dedicate all his/her time only to leisurely activities, it would be a great dishonour to himself/herself and all those people whose lives have been devastated by the pandemic.
Therefore, we need to fasten the seat belt and get into take-off mode with full focus and attention. It is a great time to read and study materials that will keep us informed, it may be our textbooks or other great works that will widen and deepen our knowledge and wisdom. It is the best time to find our passions and interests in life and dedicate a lot of time to it. It is also the best time to help out our parents at household activities be it cooking, cleaning, washing, gardening etc. In other words, if one is fit and fine now, it is the best time to discover oneself and work towards a holistic development, the best time to reconnect with the world and develop a sense of purpose.
If we haven’t started out yet on that path, it is never too late to venture out with a mission even now. If we don’t even make an effort and just while away our time aimlessly, it would be unfair to all the people experiencing untold troubles and difficulties of huge proportions in this pandemic. The young students, the future of the world, owe it to the world bruised and battered by the pandemic, to rise to the challenge and respond with commitment and endeavour to bring back the sunshine of joy and happiness in the world through their hard work.
Fr. Hans Igness SDB, (MA, B.Ed, M.Ed & Research Scholar), is Principal, Don Bosco Hr. Sec. School, Imphal