I’ve heard commercials, politicians, and others declare “we’re all in this together” regarding the pandemic and resulting social distancing guidelines, financial challenges, and more. But, are we?
I mulled it over quite a lot, and perhaps we are together. Our specific situations and experiences might differ slightly (or vastly). Our attitudes and approaches differ. But we are still going through this season together.
It might be more relatable in smaller sections. For example, everyone at my workplace attends work basically during the same hours and days. We’re trying to work toward some of the same goals, but we have different roles. We have different concerns and interests outside of work, and we certainly have different views about guidelines surrounding the COVID-19 crisis. And our decisions impact each other. We’re not united, but we’re walking through similar challenges at the same time.
Consider recent high school graduating classes. Each person in the class attended the same school. They met the same basic requirements. They graduated on the same day. But they took different class, had different friends and interests, and have different plans for the future. They have been connected through a season, and this particular class of seniors had an unusual educational season to share. Some were crushed to miss out on some of the end of year events and opportunities. Others welcomed the reprieve.
Parents can share children—young or adult—but have very little in common in their approaches or interactions as parents. As we parented together, my ex-husband and I did out best to privately talk through our parenting differences in order to present a united front to our daughters. Our different personalities and habits still came through, and we developed different relationships with them. Even though he left the marriage, and he and I no longer have contact with one another, each of us is still a parent. There is no more united front or co-parenting as we each continue individual relationships with our girls, but we continue through the same season of parenting.
When you hear someone say, “we’re all in this together,” but you know he or she isn’t struggling with the same challenges you are, acknowledge the differences without distancing yourself. You have more in common than you might want to acknowledge, but you might have to listen and pay attention in order to find the common bonds. You can find connection even when there are differences and distance. Even if it’s only for a season and you are more like fellow journeyers than traveling companions, you can learn something only this season and the people around you might invite you to learn and grow through.