The Year of Change

This month marks one year of a “new normal” for our world. We learned to adapt to masks, social distancing and zoom meetings for school, work and family. We look around at our community with pride as they have worked hard to protect one another and move toward a healthier, safer environment. We asked three members of the FSH family what this year has meant to them. Listen to how Destiny (an FSH scholar), Tiffany (an FSH graduate) and Cathe (Chief Possibility Officer, President & CEO) say this year of change has changed them.

Destiny talks about how this past year has allowed her to be a better person.

“Reflecting on the last year there are many things that I have learned about myself, my child, and the world around me. I have an increased gratitude, that has been added to my heart, during the perilous times that we had, and still do encounter, with COVID-19. My eyes are wide open to the amount of support that I have from loved ones and Family Scholar House. I have not wanted for a thing. The stillness of this period allowed me to focus more on myself internally and led me to improve to be a better mother, sister and student. I have started to work out more and eat better foods to take care of my body and mind. I also found a new talent in poetry. I know I am lucky to have the opportunity to go to school and have the support and resources to help fight against COVID-19. I am grateful for our healthcare heroes who have risked and lost their lives, the teachers that have taught my child and me, and the assistance of those around me.  Although I would not have chosen this, I wouldn’t take back these times because it made me a more grateful, persevering and patient person.”

Tiffany also felt that many positives came from these trying times.

“The world stopped in the middle of my last semester as an undergrad student. My first thought was, “My professors didn’t prepare me for this”. I was scared because the state of the world shifted, and with it, all of my plans! On-campus classes were moved to online, in-person graduation was cancelled, a promising internship fell through because of the pandemic, and my son started kindergarten through e-learning. So many positives came during this time as well. I received a drive-by graduation from my friends and everyone in my church family, I was accepted into the MBA program at U of L, I secured a well-paying job, and learned to overcome technical difficulties with Wi-Fi, muting and unmuting and turning your video on and off. It strengthened family bonds also. My son deepened his relationship with me and his grandparents, I became engaged, I met newfound family members, and witnessed my whole family fight COVID with thankfully a full recovery. I watched my mother with pride as she worked overtime, as an essential worker at Kroger, to ensure every household had what they needed. The pandemic definitely shined a light for me on a lost fundamental value, the value of family! We were so caught up with all types of extracurricular activities, that we forgot how to sit at a dinner table together. We took so much for granted. The pandemic opened my eyes to see that. It taught me to love hard, forgive even more, do nice things for people as simple as opening the door, be nice in the drive-thru, smile with your eyes, and call and check on family members as often as possible.”

Cathe’s reflection echoed the sentiments of appreciation and gratitude.

“As we stand in this time of transition from what was normal, to what happened to us, to where we are now as we find a way forward to a new normal, it is our fervent hope that we all take the lessons we have learned with us. Having children learning from home through non-traditional instruction (NTI) for most of 2020 was a great reminder of how much our children need teachers and how parents rely on teachers, as part not only of their children’s classroom learning, but also as a guide to help students assimilate into structured environments with their peers. We all now have a whole new appreciation for the important role of nurses and other healthcare professionals as well. Did any of us fully appreciate how our individual, family, community, national, and global health and well-being is impacted by having sufficient educated, trained healthcare professionals? We also learned that technology is not a luxury. Smart phones, laptops, high-speed internet, and Wi-Fi were essential needs for work, social interaction, virtual medical care, and virtually everything else in 2020. It would be a shame to learn so many things about ourselves, our community, and our support systems and not put that education to use in making our world a better place for everyone. In addition to large scale initiatives, I have a clearer picture of what matters most on a personal level. Let me speak for myself in saying that I plan to be intentional about how I spend my time in 2021. I plan to make more time for hugs and travel and I also want to learn from others and their pandemic experiences.”

Although it has been a year with challenges and obstacles it is heartwarming to know that people are focusing on the positives. We will carry those with us as we move into healthier, brighter days.