February 22, 2021

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – “For the Children” Weekly Column

Contact: Joe Dorman, CEO – Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy

Telephone: (405) 833-1117

Email: jdorman@oica.org

 

For the Children: A Weekly Column by Joe Dorman, CEO – OICA

Moving Beyond the Numbness

“Numb.” That was the one-word answer I submitted to a group call on an online meeting platform last week. The question, “How are each of you feeling?” was likely asked in a kind gesture with the expectation of a standard answer of feeling okay, frustrated, or some other comment made in passing.

My answer was honest and from the heart. With all the things that have not only impacted my pandemic life, but especially with the snowstorm that helped strictly enforce a quarantine faced by many across our region of the nation, this was how I felt.

Now, I am going to ask that question to you about how do you feel? For those I know and who wish to have that conversation, my phone is always on and my door is always open to you (if you keep six feet away and stay masked up).

For those of you I have not yet met, please take my question, and have that dialogue with a trusted voice who can listen and have this conversation with you. If you need to speak to a professional about depression, please dial 211 and ask for assistance.

I know there likely is a large percentage of the population who feel the same way. Life has been extremely difficult, especially for those of us who enjoy being around others. These days, that joy is tempered by the dread of friends and family falling ill. This week, our country crosses the sad toll of a half-million Americans lost to COVID. It upsets me there are still doubters out there who refuse to believe the existence or severity of this virus causing a worldwide pandemic. There are even some who hold positions of authority who inspire others with their false assertions that the virus is minor or even nonexistent. Please do not fall susceptible to this.

Next, I am going to strongly encourage you to ask this same question to those young ones in your life, and please listen to their responses intently. Children can be far more resilient than adults in many ways, but they are also face severe trauma as many have been exiled from their normal lives for a year with little sign of life returning to how it used to be.

This should be a time when they are building the foundation for a successful adulthood by learning how to build healthy relationships and gain social skills from interaction with peers. While it appears most schools will soon be re-opening, whether it be full restoration of classes or a blended model of alternating days to learn in-person, we still face the constant battle of keeping infection rates low within communities until more Americans can be vaccinated.

As the snow thaws and the temperature rises, I have resolved to get outside more in the days ahead. For the first time in months, I went to the office with regular work attire instead of the casual COVID-19 dress code. I am going to make it a point to restore many of the normal attributes in my life, while still following protocols.

I encourage each of you to do the same, and please also do so for the children around you. There are far too many young people who are not being heard, or who have not had someone delve into the question of their well-being. Start today by asking them and those around you, “How are you feeling,” and be the attentive listener that they might need right now.

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