Frontline workers are now running with the baton – soon it will be handed over to us and we will have to finish the race
Special educator and vocational trainer (OMAN)
Founder & Director, Prakramika Institute, NGO, India
The critical moment of any relay race in athletics is the time of handover of the baton. The quality and timing of exchange determines the success of that race. Having efficient runners alone is not enough — they must have the skill for efficient handover.
The person receiving the baton starts running well before the baton reaches them. An efficient handover occurs when the recipient doesn’t have to look behind him and remains with eyes focused on the way ahead. The receiver knows exactly when to stretch out his hand and trust that the baton will be there. The theme of the relay race is that everyone runs towards a common goal. One person alone cannot win if the team fails. So, in a relay, either all team members win or all lose.
Our turn will come to receive the baton
The deadly virus has severely restricted the mobility of half the population of the world and confined most of them within the four walls of their house. As a result, there is a huge fall in economic activities, strain on healthcare, significant job loss, heightened anxieties and stress, large scale disruption in education schedules, the list can go on… However, even in these testing times, the frontline workers have been silently but courageously battling the COVID–19 Corona virus in order to protect us. They are working tirelessly, exposing themselves to maximum danger to protect the world.
The healthcare professionals, caregivers, police, essential suppliers, hygiene workers and many more are struggling hard to keep the rest of the world safe and running. They are the present runners in the relay race. They are running hard for us with the baton called ‘lifesaver’. Once their work is completed successfully, the baton needs to be taken by us to complete the life’s race.
Let’s be emotionally fit too
Even when working from home, we have to be emotionally and physically fit. There are so many ways where we can focus on healthy eating habits and fitness and keep ourselves fit. But for our emotional fitness, we need to have a healthy work environment while working from home.
No doubt man is a social animal. Connectivity is of paramount importance for him. Keeping in touch with friends and relatives on a routine basis improves the sense of security and belonging to the society.
Being updated with COVID related news is very important but seeing the pandemic affected world 24×7 is unhealthy in every way. This may increase anxiety and depression. Hence we must have a balance of what we see in the media by looking at only significant updates. Only an emotionally and physically fit person will be an efficient receiver of the baton from the frontline workers in the post-COVID world.
Preparing for post-COVID world
Preparing for the world post COVID is very important. We can expect drastic changes in the world economy, the business, the perception and careers once the battle with COVID ends. How prepared are we to face that new world? This is the time for us to get ourselves equipped for a brighter tomorrow. Here, let me make a heartfelt thanks to all the organisations that are offering online courses at affordable prices.
We need to analyse the prospective growth fields and get properly up skilled so that we step out of the lockdown fully equipped. If we do that rightly, we will surely be running with full speed and hand stretched in the right position to receive the baton.
Equipping children for post-COVID education
However, the strategy to keep the children meaningfully engaged and preparing them for post-COVID world would be on a different level. There will be drastic changes in the educational system. How are we going to equip our children for this evolution? All these days, we were asking children to reduce the screen time but now we are forcefully making them sit in front of the screen.
A recent Oxford study points out that our brains can become addicted to the fast-paced, instantaneous give-and-take of the high-speed, connected, online world. When this online delivery technique is applied to learning it has the potential to cause serious problems to the learner. It can negatively impact parts of the brain that deal with deep thought, introspection, and reasoning. Yet, we cannot totally ignore the academics.
So, we need to walk the tightrope and strike the right balance but at the same time make sure that we don’t lose sight of its impact on the brain functioning of the child. For children of middle school and primary, by resorting to teach academics through video lessons, screen time can be reduced.
The online teaching can be kept to a bare minimum. The focus should be on skill development with the twin objective to kindle their interest in exploring new things and adapt them to face the unlocked world so that they too can be a successful receiver of the baton.