Hard times bring out the truth.

With schools closed, you’d think the conversation would be around how to keep educating our kids. But most of the conversation focuses on how to provide food and basic childcare for students. Turns out, schools do much more than teach our kids. Turns out, maybe they are worth fully funding. Maybe teachers do deserve a hefty pay raise.

With the government kicking around the idea of handing out money, you’d think there’d be tons of scrutiny about making sure lazy, system-leeching folks don’t see one red cent of it. But there ain’t. It’s interesting how yesterday’s “handout” has become today’s “economic stimulus.”

With so many businesses sending people to work from home, we’re finding out that, yes, we can do more remote work than we thought. Maybe instituting better policies around paid maternity leave and paid time off isn’t such an insurmountable task after all.

Obviously, many of the measures put in place in response to the new coronavirus can’t be permanent – like landlords waiving or postponing this month’s rent. Still, it would be ridiculous to endure this event and learn nothing from it.

Here’s what we’re learning over in our little corner.

This situation is an opportunity to become more distracted, or less distracted. You can either dive fully into the minute-by-minute digital monitoring of the coronavirus, as well as whatever online social engagement you seek, or you can take this time to unplug a little.

Of course, check in on the news and check in on your loved ones, but also take care of yourself. If you’re fortunate enough to have a little extra time on your hands, learn something new. Take more walks, read more physical books, take more time on your porch.

If your kids are home, get some face time with them. This is a huge opportunity to get closer to them, even if they are driving you crazy. Teach them to cook a few basic meals or get them to help you with tasks around the house. Play cards, doodle, or put together a puzzle.

I am saying this to myself as much as anyone. Around the house, I am an absolute busybody. Laundry, dirty dishes, check the chickens, let the dogs out, take out the trash – I call this “doing a lap.” It wears my wife out, I’m sure. I’d like to use this time to practice being more present and even-keel.

As always, it’s up to you to decide what you do with this time. Food for thought, anyway.

RILEY MANNING is a fiction writer, former religion reporter for the Daily Journal, and a copywriter at Mabus Agency. Readers can contact him at rileymanning19@gmail.com.

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