Growing up, the phrase my parents used to say that I said I would never repeat is “Because I said so.” I used to hate it. Not only did I feel that there was no explanation behind it, but it felt so final… so definitive.
Fast forward thirty years and guess which phrase I find myself following back on? Yep… it is the same one I use with my kids. What I now understand is that this is an absolutely reasonable response, since it is backed by a very specific explanation.
I was thinking about this when I heard Governor Newsom last week announced that he was mandating that teachers and health professionals get vaccinated or be subjected to weekly COVID testing. While it may have come across more like another favorite parental saying…”It’s for your own good,” I have spent time looking at it in a different light.
For the last 18+ months, we have been in unchartered territory. And it is not only scary but also nerve-wracking because we are used to having some kind of blueprint to follow when faced with challenges. Some have pointed out that the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic was similar. However, while a similar pandemic, the world is an entirely different place, ever more connected – both physically and technologically than at any other point in human history. While the disease might spread in the same fashion, the fact that someone could be in Europe in the morning and return back to Southern California in the evening has changed everything. Our mobility, in many ways, has made the situation that much more difficult. Then, add in the political realm we are currently in and the situation is far different than 1918.
So… health and governmental officials, including state and local leaders, are doing everything they can to try and get a handle on this latest outbreak to prevent what everyone is trying to avoid… another shutdown. Using the data they have at their disposal, they are making the most educated and responsible decisions AT THAT MOMENT. And while the science and data continue to be updated, their decisions are also being dictated by everyone’s personal behaviors and actions. I think it is extremely important to remember all of this, even if we do not agree with it.
I can tell you from first-hand experience, as someone who leads an organization, it is extremely hard and frustrating to develop a plan and then need to change it because the guidelines and recommendations keep changing. And yet, this flexibility, in the very fluid environment we find ourselves in, is critical, as is the patience, understanding, and tolerance from the community are greatly appreciated.
Please keep all of this in mind as we continue on this ever-twisting and turning COVID roller-coaster. While we may not like it, I have a strong suspicion that we will experience more “because I said so’s” or “it’s for your own good” moments. And remember… even though we may not have liked it the first… second… third time we heard our parents say it, in the end, we did tend to listen because deep down we knew it was the right thing to do.