It’s a Good Time to Think About What Really Matters
April 15, 2020
One of the things we are learning amid this current crisis is the importance of community.
The COVID-19 pandemic certainly hit us like a tsunami, and it will take quite some time for its impact to fully unfold within our society.
While we all have lots of questions and concerns around the response and the tens of thousands of lives lost, one thing truly stands out and it’s something we can all agree on: We are all in this together and, this crisis has given humanity a chance, an opportunity, to reveal what really matters. As my pastor reminded me recently, “What we choose is up to us.”
Over the past four decades, I have been fortunate to work on so many issues that really matter. Those issues range from educational equity for all children, truly valuing and rewarding the work done by educators and health-care workers, equal rights across all communities, understanding and appreciating that science matters, economic empowerment and more. I will be the first to admit that while progress has been made, we still have a very long road to travel in America and around the world until we have flattened the curve on these societal concerns.
One of the things we are learning amid this current crisis is the importance of community. For me, that community includes my family, friends and long-standing clients. We regularly strive to be in touch, but in difficult times, those connections are even more important as we try to learn from one another.
In recent days, my outreach and check-ins with friends and client-colleagues provided some good insights on how they are using their life skills to meet the challenges we now face. Here are six insights I think you will find instructive:
- “As a researcher in cancer biology, the techniques we learned to culture human tumor cells have provided a foundational background in maintaining sterility and avoiding contamination. These basic skills have come in handy when maneuvering in public spaces—and strategizing about keeping everyone safe from viral spread in a university campus environment.” Mary J.C. Hendrix, president, Shepherd University
- “It’s a treat to have so much family time. And I know that, while there is untold sadness from this pandemic, life as we know it will return.” Jonathan F. Foster, Founder and Managing Director, Current Capital Partners
- “Above all, your purpose, your principles, your values, your ethics are central. In this most challenging of moments, we need to be doing good, and trust is the entry ticket to getting good work done—fast and at scale—with the most vulnerable in mind.” Anthony Mackay, CEO and President, National Center on Education and the Economy
- “Going through the Depression, we learned to assume responsibility and to endure whatever we’re going through. Those same principles apply today in that we all need to obey the important messages about distancing and, above all else, we need to respect each other.” Douglas Widmeyer, small business owner (and Scott’s Dad)
- “I am drawn to the power of collective action, to things that are too big to do on one’s own. So, in facing this crisis, I try to ask, ‘Given we all share similar problems, how can we act together to mount a response adequate to the gravity of the situation?’” Larry Berger, CEO, Amplify
- “I have learned throughout the course of my life that you step up during challenging times. Starting with myself, I focus on the positive that can be accomplished each day, and message that to my communities. We always emerge on the other end. So, let’s work toward that.” Charles Goldstuck, Founder and Co-Chairman, Hitco Entertainment
As we go forward, let’s make the right choices as Americans and global citizens. And, in the coming weeks, I will offer up additional reflections as we fast forward to 2025 and contemplate what the world might look like.