Vulnerability. It’s as equally hard as it is important. It’s hard because it requires us to reveal a part of ourselves (usually the messier, more tender parts) to others without the assurance of how they will feel or respond. It’s important because it cultivates sympathy and leads us to become kinder, more gracious human beings.
I believe today more than ever, that no matter what side of the aisle we fall or the faith we choose to follow, we all need to hear each other’s stories: of despair and of hope, of defeat and of victory and, most of all — of the heart. These stories are the grassroots of humanity, of change and of true community. So today, I am going to practice being vulnerable and share my story with you.
A story that has gradually led me to believe that mask-wearing should be optional for children while at school, at least while seated at their desks. (With area COVID cases at an all-time high and hospitals reaching their peak capacity, I can currently understand why our kids are being forced to wear a mask in school — for now — but I advocate that once these two variables decrease, our children should have the option to remove their masks and I personally believe that we should not wait a moment more than necessary). I realize that this is just my opinion and that there are those who, due to the nature and unknowns of COVID, believe just as strongly in mandating masks in schools for all students, all the time. I hear you and I am asking you to hear me too.
Be gentle, I beg you, as the people-pleaser in me is panicking. I know many of you will not only disagree with me but may even come to the conclusion that I don’t care enough about my community and the lives of others. Knowing that hurts me on a level that is hard to explain because I promise you — I DO care, deeply.
Somehow, today I am brave enough to really believe that I can care deeply for others AND still want to protect my own children from the emotional and educational harm being done by wearing a mask during their 8 hour school day. And, no, I am not claiming this for all or even most children — I am claiming it for MINE.
Because, I know my children. I know their struggles. I know their hearts. I’ve watched them fight an extraordinarily hard fight; not for their own sakes but for the sake of others. And, I watched with great pride. Pride slowly shifted into concern. I began to notice hints of fatigue steadily emerge and subtle shifts in their sweet personalities as frustration and sadness trickled in bit by bit. Eventually, I watched my children begin to wonder – would the battle ever end?