There’s a famous quote from the amazing Mr. Rogers that’s often used in troubling times. “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
I love this quote. It’s comforting. It’s true. It’s also a little hard to manage when the best thing we can do is stay at home. How do we see the helpers then?
In our current circumstances, for me, this is a call to action. What can I do to be that helper that Mr. Rogers was looking for, even if I’m working out of sight of others?
I’m not an EMT or a doctor or a scientist. But I’m a citizen, a member of a community. And there are things I can do to help. Even small things can make a huge difference right now.
We’re staying at home as much as possible. We’re washing our hands often, using hand sanitizer both before and after touching things when we have to go out in public—to try to protect others as well as ourselves. We’re educating ourselves on ways to make our families and communities and ourselves safer. We’re reassuring our friends and directing them to resources that can help.
During our trip to the grocery store, we discussed items that seemed to be running low on the shelves. Did we really need that item? Could we get a different brand, since our normal product seemed in high demand? Or maybe make our own instead of buying what was ready-made? When we could, we left what was there for others.
Not everyone can do that. I fully realize that. Whether it’s a physical or emotional need driving them. People are scared. They don’t know when they’ll get to go to the store again. They’re afraid of what they’ll find (or not find) when they do.
I feel that fear, too. But I also feel faith. Faith in my family—that we will continue to support each other through this turbulent time. Faith in others, to come to our aid if needed. Faith in myself, that I’ll be able to help others, as much as I can. Even if it’s a matter of leaving an item on the shelf for someone I’ll never meet. And I’m holding onto that faith as tightly as I can.
We may need to keep our distance right now, but we can still find ways to be the helper that Mr. Rogers was watching for.