To live in fear, or fear not living?

 A good friend of mine just died of cancer. She was in her early 40s and struggled with a brain tumor for years. One of the songs we talked about on occasion was  Live like you were dying,” by Tim McGraw.

I always admired her outlook on life and how she lived it. She truly became an inspiration. Knowing that death was imminent freed her up to live life to the fullest. She travelled, she spent time with her family, she allowed herself to speak her mind and share her feelings knowing that her time was limited. It was her confrontation and acceptance of reality that allowed her to live her best life. While she still had fears, she intrinsically knew there are more important things than death and disease. What freedom! It seems to me that by constantly trying to remove all risk, we are teaching children to do exactly the opposite: to be trapped in their own minds, to be afraid of others, and not to overcome the risks of life. These mask mandates for children in schools are harmful. While covering up the face might be socially and psychologically harmful for younger children, what does it teach the older students about confronting the world as it is and learning to mitigate fears? Covid-19 is not the only transmissible virus, or by any means the deadliest.

There will never be a zero-risk environment anywhere for anyone. Many kids intuit these masks are dirty and useless, but in order not to get in trouble they also learn to fear speaking up; easier to just do as they’re told, even after going on two years of this life disruption. Even though viruses have always killed a significant number of people each year, life still went on. Traditionally we have dealt with these threats not by scaring the healthy—separating them and scaring them into believing that the world is scary—but instead urging people to become more resilient. If you’re scared of this or that disease, you can make your body stronger by being healthy, getting a vaccine, educating yourself, and using common sense. I hope we can start teaching students once again that the most beautiful life is lived on the other side of fear, rather than teaching them that fear should dictate how they live. In 2020 we became afraid of dying. If we must pay attention to any fear, I hope we will become more afraid of not living.